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A is For Apple Picking in Julian: ALL The Orchards + Tips to Know Before You Go (Sept. 2023)


Julian Apple Picking from San Diego

(Updated 9/7/2023)

One of the first Fall traditions for many is Apple Picking in nearby Julian! This is a GREAT activity for kids to show them where food comes from and they can even pick their own apples right from the branch. Don’t forget your cameras and make sure they’re fully charged because there will be some cute photo ops in the orchards.


GOOD TO KNOW: We have a short 2-3 week season, so check their socials and websites before you go to make sure they still have apples left on the tree! ;)

When you've got all the apples you can carry, come back here to turn them into the best apple pie (yes I'm giving away my grandma's secret recipe, the trick is in the crust!) or apple muffins you've ever tasted.



Contents:


 

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE GOING APPLE PICKING

Since you're driving all the way out there, you'll want to make sure you know what to expect so you can have the best apple picking experience. Plan ahead to make sure apples are still left, bring some water & bug spray, wear closed toed shoes and send the kids to use the bathroom before you start picking. Read on for more tips to help make this a fun day for everyone.


Contents:


WHEN TO GO:

Go early in the season before the apples run out and go early in the day before it gets too hot. Apple season runs until the end of Sept or early Oct and even though it's "Fall", it usually feels like the hottest of summer days out in Julian.

Make sure their apples are ripe before you go - they’ll usually announce either on their websites, facebook or instagram pages.

VARIETIES:

Each of them have different apple varieties as well, so if you’re an apple connoisseur or want to pick those Galas or Gravensteins, check to see which orchards have what you want to pick. I made note of the apple varieties for each orchard below, but it may change. ;)

WHAT ELSE IS THERE:

Check with each orchard first to find out which one you’re interested in because some even have pears, berries & pumpkins to pick or even hay rides and a petting zoo!

ORGANIC:

There are only a few certified ORGANIC Orchards, others are in the process of getting organic certified, some don’t spray their trees & some don’t mention anything. I’ve noted this info below for each orchard, so if that matters to you then be sure to take note.

COSTS:

Apple picking costs a bit more than what you’d pay for at the grocery store, but it’s worth it to have the experience and memories with your kids. Costs vary from $5, $12, $13, $25 for about 5 lbs.

WHAT TO BRING:

LOTS of water (see note above about summer weather), snacks, hats & sunscreen; these are always at the top of my list! But also wear sensible shoes like sneakers (not flip flops or sandals) to walk the orchards in, bring a picnic lunch, blanket (some places have picnic tables) and cash because that’s all that most apple picking places will accept. Except for nowadays some only accept cards so plan to bring both, but also check before you go.

EAT FIRST:

After 1.5 hours in the car, the kids will need to eat before they go apple picking, or it could be disastrous. Stop in Julian at one of the cafes before hitting the orchards or bring your own snacks and food to eat when you park. You'll likely find a place to hang out and eat on-site before walking into the orchard.

BATHROOMS:

Each orchard has a bathroom option, most likely a port-a-potty, but just in case they don't or if the line is too long, bring some pee bags and portable potties so your kids can do their business in the back of your car. (If they have to go pee while you're in the middle of the orchard, it's a loooong way back to the entrance so make sure they go pee before you go in.)

BUGS:

There are lots of bugs in the orchards, mostly annoying little flies and some bees. Bring some bug spray and wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and long socks to cover up well.


The little flies bothered my kids the most but I kept them moving and picking so after a while they forgot about the flies. You may want to consider rolling on some essential oils or other bug deterrent to keep the flies away. (Cinnamon, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Lemongrass are the most effective oils against pesky flies).

JULIAN:

If you’re not too tired, check out the cute little town of Julian! There are lots of great bakeries (for fresh apple pie of course!), cafes to grab a meal, antique shops and the Julian Mining Company is a fun place for kids to pan for gold! There's an old jail cell you can walk up to, same for the old school house and a carriage house. We even saw some wild turkeys roaming about!

PHOTO OPS:

Try to get your cute pictures at the START of your apple picking; otherwise, you'll end up with some tired, hungry kids who have to pee and they won't stand still for any bribe, except maybe for some apple pie. Action shots are great and better than begging your kids to "stand still for just one more time I promise" photo. My trick: ask the kids to hug each other or take a bite of or smell their apple for a cute candid!


 

ALL OF THE BEST APPLE ORCHARDS IN JULIAN

This is the most complete list of the best places to pick apples in Julian. It has every single apple orchard and lists which apple varieties they have: which ones are certified organic apples, which ones allow groups for scouts or play groups and even one where you can book the entire orchard to yourself for a truly private apple picking experience.


Remember to check with them directly before you go to make sure they still have apples left!


The info below is noted for 2023.


Contents:

 

🍎 APPLE STARR ORCHARD

2023 Season: starts 9/2/23 - until end of season

HOURS: Fri 12-4:30pm; Sat/Sun 9-4:30


They are Certified Organic for both Apples AND Pears. They have lots of trees with low branches that kids can reach! Lots of parking, picnic tables, bathrooms, BYO chairs or blankets, red wagons are available for small children or BYO strollers and wagons. Ask for "picking poles" to reach apples on higher branches.

📆 Opened 9/2/23 until season ends

-->Check website for updates before you go


📩 RSVP: None needed


💵

$30/1 peck approx 10 lbs

$20/additional bag


💳 Cash only, they accept Venmo but service is spotty, or Check with ID


✨ CHEMICALS/PESTICIDES: Certified ORGANIC Growers (CCOF) since 1996


🍎 APPLES - Gravenstein, Gala; PEARS - Bosc, Anjou, Comice, Red Bartlett, Green Bartlett


🐶 Not noted


📍 1020 Julian Orchards Dr., Julian

📞 760-305-2169


📲 IG: n/a

📲 FB: n/a




 

🍎 OLD PEACEFIELD ORCHARD

2023 Season: starts 9/2/23 - until end of season

HOURS: Sat & Sun, 9-2


Rumor has it this is where the oldest apple tree in Julian is, Granny Gravenstein. You'll have over 2 acres and 220 trees to choose from so I'm sure you'll find some good ones. Sometimes they have musical performers on weekends, check website for this info.


📆 Sat & Sun, 9-2

-->Check website for updates before you go


📩 RSVP: None needed


💵

$20/half peck aprox. 8-10 apples

$1 cold water & seltzer

Entrance fee charged on days with musical performers


💳 Cash or Zelle only


✨ CHEMICALS/PESTICIDES: Organic


🍎 APPLES - Gravenstein, Jonagold, Jonathan, Granny Smith (late Sept/Oct), Red & Golden Delicious


🐶 Not noted


📍 3803 Wynola Rd., Julian

📞 310-902-6321


📲 IG: n/a

📲 FB: n/a



 

🍎 VOLCAN VALLEY APPLE FARM

2023 Season: starts 9/8/23

HOURS: Fri-Sun, 9-4:30

No reservations required


This is the most popular and largest orchard in the area and is where most people come to pick apples. There are lots of low branches that make it easy for kids to pick. They also sell fresh apple cider & cold water and often have food/drink vendors every weekend. They have a few picnic tables & Port-a-Potties.

📆 Fri-Sun, 9-4:30

-->Check socials for updates before you go

📩 RSVP: None needed

💵

$5 admission per person

$15 per bag (6-7 lbs)

FREE for kids 5 & under

💳 Cards are preferred or exact cash

✨ CHEMICALS/PESTICIDES: Nothing noted about this

🍎 APPLES: Empires, Pippins, Jonathans, Galas, Golden Delicious, Gravensteins


🐶 Leashed, well-behaved dogs are welcome

OTHER:

Fresh apple cider for $4 cash only; selling apple wood too.

They have a few picnic tables to enjoy if you BYO food, using social distancing.

Well behaved dogs on leashes are welcome, please pick up after them

📍 1284 Julian Orchards Dr., Julian

Between wineries at Wynola Rd. and Julian Orchard Dr.

📞 760-302-4574



 

🍎 JULIAN FARM & ORCHARD

2023 Season: open now

HOURS: Fri-Sun, 10-4

reservations required this year


This is one of the most popular apple picking spots in Julian. As of 2022, they're under new management and they're only doing apple picking along with their Farm Tours. You cannot pick on your own without doing the Farm Tour. "Our Farmers will lead folks to the very best apples and talk a bit about our naturally chemical-free growing methodology. These tour are fun, educational and suitable for the whole family. Questions are highly encouraged."


Plan extra time either before or after your apple picking farm tour because you'll find more than just apples here. They have a pumpkin patch, u-pick berries (raspberries, strawberries & blackberries), u-pick sunflowers, a petting zoo, axe throwing, rock climbing wall, tractor drawn hayrides, farmer’s store, picnic tables & more. See costs below.


📆 Friday-Sunday, 10-4

-->Check Instagram for updates before you go


📩 RSVP: General admission doesn't require a reservation, but pre-booking does speed up your entry process. Apple Tours require reservations.

💵

$20 for ages 4+ to do u-pick apples is only available with the apple tour; included is the tractor hayride and petting zoo


$5 general admission for ages 4+ and includes: farm access, picnic areas, swings, hay maze, yard games


$10 general admission includes: all of the above + petting zoo


$25 for ages 4+ include: all of the above + tractor pulled hayride, axe throwing, rocking climbing wall, cider press, crafts and face painting


$65 season pass


$10 per container for u-pick raspberries, strawberries & blackberries


U-Pick is an Extra Cost for fruit, flowers & pumpkins and varies by season and is not included in the Farm pricing below. (Seasonal availability: apples, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, flowers, sunflowers & pumpkins)


Apple picking $20 per bag with a tour only

Sunflowers $10 for 6 or $2/stem

Berries $7/basket

Pumpkins $5-$29 varies by size



💳 Not noted, but always best to bring cash

✨ CHEMICALS/PESTICIDES: Nothing noted about this


🍎 APPLES: Honey Crisp, Crimsoncrip, Liberty apples, Granny Smith


🐶 Leashed, well-behaved dogs are welcome and must remain on pathways outside of crop areas, owners are required to pick-up after your dogs

📍 U-Pick Farm & Orchard

4381 Hwy 78, Santa Ysabel

On the Santa Ysabel side of the highway next to Julian Mountain Bakery & Wynola Pizza 🍕


📞 760-765-5494




 

🍎 RANCHITA DEL REO

2023 Season: Sept. 23 - Nov. 11, 2023

HOURS: Fri-Mon, 9:30-4

walk-ins for picking

reservations required for experiences


Walk-ins allowed for apple picking only or you can make a reservation for an apple "experience".


Apple Picking

Walk-ins allowed

$15/per person includes a 1/4 peck bag, kids under 1 are free, but everyone 1+ who walks into the orchard is required to purchase a bag.


Experiences

45 min. for a family or small party of 6 people max and include: a basket for apple picking, one jar of homemade jam, salsa or honey (your choice) and homemade cornbread.


Fresh pressed apple cider and other homemade jarred jams, spreads and dips are available for purchase as well from their on-site store.


No large groups

📆 Friday-Monday, 9:30-4


📩 No RSVP for walk-in apple picking, but Experiences required RSVP by website only here


💵 $15/person for apple picking, $25/person for Experiences; kids under 1 are free.


💳 Not listed


✨ CHEMICALS/PESTICIDES: not listed


🍎 VARIETY: not listed


🐶 No animals are allowed, email her about service dogs


📍 1711 HWY 78., Julian

📞 760-484-2751

💻 EMAIL for reservations: ranchitadelreo@gmail.com


📲 IG: n/a

📲 FB: n/a





 

🍎 CALICO RANCH & CIDERY

2023 Season: NOT OPENING FOR 2023 due to drought and other circumstances, but their cidery is still open.


(I'm leaving the following info from last year 2021 to make it easier for updating if they ever decide to re-open for u-pick again.)


They're certified organic for apples & pears, but since it's a smaller orchard they usually only have enough apples for 1-2 weekends each season due to their lighter production.

📆 N/A for 2022 season

📩 RSVP: No

💵 $10/bag (about 7-8 lbs)

💳 Cash is preferred

✨ CHEMICALS/PESTICIDES: USDA Certified Organic

🍎 APPLES:


🐶 Not noted


🍻 Their cidery is open for tastings and carry out Friday-Sunday from 11-sundown

📍 4200 Hwy 78, Julian

📞 858-586-0392

📲 IG: @calicocidery

📲 FB:




 

🍎 APPLES & ART ORCHARDS (Group U-Picking Only)

2023 Season: starts 9/8/23

Hours: 1pm or 3pm daily for groups only

reservations required


This U-pick is for LARGE GROUPS ONLY who buy and pick 20 or more bags. It’s a great option for groups of homeschoolers, neighborhood families, scouting/girl scouts groups, etc. This includes an orchard tour and free apple cider making & tasting.

GROUPS ONLY: They're only open for groups that are together, who pick 20+ bags! Not for individuals or small families.

📆 starts 9/8/23 - Groups Only

🕰 Picking times are daily at 1pm or 3pm

📩 RSVP: Yes, required

💵 $15/half peck (about 5 lbs)

Deposit of $75 required to hold reservation 2 weeks before


💳 Cash only

✨ CHEMICALS/PESTICIDES: "Pesticide Free, All Natural, Non-GMO - they have never been sprayed. Our soil has not been contaminated with pesticides or weed killers...apples are not perfect…so there may be spots or tiny holes.”


🍎 APPLES: McIntosh, Red Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Green Pippen, Heirloom.


🐶 Not noted


📍 1052 Julian Orchards Dr., Julian

📞 760-310-6368

💻 EMAIL for reservations: applesandart@sbcglobal.net


📲 IG: n/a

📲 FB: n/a



 

🍎 CROSSCUT FARM & ORCHARD (Group U-Picking Only)

2023 Season: Sept. 16-24, 2023

Hours: 10-12, 1-3 or 3-5

reservations required


Make your reservations early at this family-friendly “mom and pop operation” because they’re only open for 1 week of apple picking. They are not certified organic, but they do use “organic practices” and they don’t spray their trees. Reservations are required and this is for group picking only (not available for individuals or families).


📆 ONE week ONLY this year: Sept. 16-24, 2023 - Groups only

🕰 Time Slots at 10-12; 1-3 or 3-5


📩 RSVP: pre-paid online reservations are required

💵 Entrance: $5/person ages 4+; Free for ages 3 and under.


💵 Apples: $20 per ½ peck (about 7-8 apples)


💳 Cash or card only

-->Fees include apple cider press demo, a short intro to apple farming, parking and a picnic site

✨ CHEMICALS/PESTICIDES: “Organic practices used. We do not spray our trees!”


🍎 APPLES: Empire, Johnathan, Golden Delicious


🐶 Leashed, well-behaved dogs are allowed

📍 1209 Farmer Rd., Julian


Just below Volcan Mountain and directly across Menghini Wineries on Farmer Rd. Park on Farmer Rd, enter at trailhead and a short walk to the orchard. Gate entry to apple shed for sign in and maps.


📞 605-431-0136 or Call Sue for details at 605-430-9791


💻 email: crosscutforestry@gmail.com

📲 FB: n/a





 

🍎 JULIAN APPLE PICKING COMPARISON CHART 🍎

NAME

DATES

HOURS

COST

RSVP REQUIRED?

WHAT ELSE

Apple Starr Orchard

starts 9/2/23

Fri 12-4; Sat/Sun 9-4:30

$30/peck (approx 10 lbs)

No

Certified Organic

Old Peacefield Orchard

starts 9/2/23

Sat/Sun 9-2

$20 half peck (approx 8-10 apples)

No

Organic

Volcan Valley Apple Farm

starts 9/8/23

Fri-Sun 9-4:30

$5 per person admission ages 6+; $15 per bag (6-7 apples); Free for 5 & under

No

Not organic. Leashed well-behaved dogs allowed. Food/drink trucks on-site.

Julian Farm & Orchard

open now

Fri-Sun 10-4

$20 per person ages 4+ includes apple picking, apple tour on hayride and petting zoo

Yes for apple picking tour only. If you just want to do the farm activities (no apple picking) you can just show up.

Lots of other a la carte activities: axe throwing, rock climbing wall, cider press, face painting, swings, u-cut sunflowers, and u-pick berries/pumpkins. Leashed well-behaved dogs allowed.

Ranchita Del Reo

Sept. 23 - Nov. 11, 2023

Fri-Mon 9:30-4

$15 per person for ages 1+; includes 1/4 peck bag

No

No animals are allowed. Email her for service dogs.

Apples & Art Orchards (GROUPS ONLY)

starts 9/8/23

daily 1pm or 3pm

$15 half peck (about 5 lbs), for groups only who will pick 20+ bags

Yes

Groups only

Crosscut Farm & Orchard (GROUPS ONLY)

Sept. 16-24, 2023

daily from 10-12, 1-3 or 3-5

$5 entry fee per person ages 4+; Free for 3 & under; $20 for half peck (7-8 apples)

Yes

Groups only. Leashed well-behaved dogs are allowed.


 

🍎 HAVE FUN! 🍎

 

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updated 9/7/23

originally published 9/22/18

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