Monday was Columbus Day so we left work a little bit early to head out to do some pumpkin and apple picking. The problem is I really couldn’t find anywhere that had both available.
When “pumpkin picking” you really need to be sure that you read the fine print so that if you’re actually expecting to pick pumpkins off the vine that they have it available. Many “pick your own” places pre-pick the pumpkins then lay them out in a field for you to choose from. It’s a fun step up from getting them out of a bin, but there is something great about being able to actually pick them off a vine.
Places I know of that you can actually pick them off a vine(please call them to make sure, late in the season they have them pre-picked).
OFF THE VINE
Klingels/Mazezilla: We took my son there with his preschool and they take you on an open hayride of sorts out to the patch to pick your own pumpkins:
http://www.mazezilla.com/patch.html they are probably the closest in the Poconos.
Donaldson Farms (NJ): Again, we took our son out there last year with his preschool, we actually got to walk in the field and pick out our pumpkins. They also have flower picking early in the year(I really want to try that as well!) http://www.donaldsonfarms.net
Strawberry Acres(near Allentown): They are available off the vine but for the rest of this season YOU CAN NOT GET THEM OFF THE VINE. If you want to go there be sure to go early in the season. They have pumpkins available to choose from in a field. http://www.strawberryacres.com/pumpkins.html
Old Homestead(in Leighton): They are also available in a field, there are farm animals, a pumpkin sling/shooter thing, they also have food stands. http://www.oldhomestead.com/ppatch.html
So I really really really wanted to go and pick apples this year. I am constantly teaching my 6 year old son about where fruits/vegetables come from and it’s really cute to see his reaction of “so carrots are in the ground?” or “bananas in trees?”. I searched around and found that many places that normally have apple picking available do not have it this year due to the weather(I assume the rain). I also wanted to combine that with pumpkin picking – but I unfortunately could not find a place that did both at this time of the year that was close.
So we headed down to Strawberry Acres which is right past the Allentown mall to do some apple picking. Like many of the places we visit it had farm animals(I love llamas), a big “tube slide” for the kids(if you haven’t seen/tried one they’re a good laugh), pony rides, pumpkin picking(available off the vine usually, but we went to late in the season so they were in a field), a farmers market with Mums, fresh fruit, and of course APPLE PICKING! We grabbed 2 boxes and hopped onto what I can only best describe as a school bus convertible…it’s like a hayride in a school bus, with the top off, minus the hay…you’d have to see it…and were taken a few minutes up the road to where the trees were. I was slightly disappointed that the trees are so close to houses…it looses that “outdoor” feel that you get with being up here in the Poconos. It is about an hour away though and should be expected, but it seems that their pear trees are a lot further out so if you went there to do pear picking(you can also do cherry picking and peach picking) it would seem a lot more rural.
Regardless, once you’re in a sea of apple trees everything else seems to fade away. I’ve been apple picking before where you use baskets on a stick to collect them since the fruit is up so high. In this case the trees were on the “small side” being that the apples went from almost the ground all the way up to about 20 feet or so. It was great for my son since he could grab the apples himself and it really gave him a hands on feel. Since there were a lot of riper apples up top my husband hoisted him up a few times to grab them off the trees which delighted him. All in all we picked probably close to 40-50 apples which ended up costing us about $35. more expensive then store bought but definitely worth it for the experience.
Needless to say I’ll be baking a lot of apple pies in the next couple of days…
Lastly, Christmas is quickly approaching so I thought I’d mention that if you’re looking for a place to cut your own Christmas Tree in the Poconos that Old Homestead Tree Farm has tree cutting available: http://www.oldhomestead.com/xmas.html I have yet to cut my own Christmas tree so maybe we’ll try it this year!
Apple picking, pumpkin picking, cutting your own Christmas tree…they’re all great ways to get some quality family time together and to create some lasting memories. It takes a lot more time and money then the pre-cut/picked stuff, but it’s well worth it!