By Lori Bosworth
Throwing on a cable knit cardigan to counter fall’s tantalizing breezes, kicking one’s way through piles of crisp, burnt sienna leaves windswept along sidewalks and parks, visiting an Ontario fall fair or heading to a Toronto area farm to pick your own apples is an admittedly romanticized portrait of autumn, but one which we city dwellers so readily embrace. Apple picking unifies family and friends in a purely rustic activity, the results of which everyone can enjoy. Plus it’s a great way to get out and see the fall colours.
Exceptionally mild weather in the Toronto Region in March 2012 and a subsequent frost in April resulted in damaged apple crops this year, which means that apple picking and varieties will be sparse. The following apple farms near Toronto will, however, be offering some apple varieties for pick-your-own.
Pick Your Own Apple Farms in Milton
- Chudleigh’s, 9528 Highway 25 North, Milton, 905-878-2725 has Gala, Wealthy, Golden Delicious and Kerr Minis apple varieties for pick-your-own and other varieties that are ready picked. The apple farm also features a licensed restaurant, store and tractor wagon rides. Admission is ages four and up $7, a family of four $25, additional persons $5 and seniors $4. Parking is free. The farm is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day including Holiday Mondays until October 31, 2012.
- Willis Family Fruit Farm, 6063 Fifth Line, 905-876-2606 is open weekends and holiday Mondays in September and October from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and has Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp and Royal Gala varieties for picking.
King City Pick Your Own Apple Farms
- Pine Farms Orchard, 2700 16th Sideroad, King City, 905-833-5459 have been in operation for 50 years selling Melba, Wealthy, Spartan, McIntosh, Red Delicious, Cortland, Northern Spy and limited quantities of other varieties. Fall hours from mid-August to Nov. 1, 2012 are Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pick Your Own Apples in Stouffville
- Applewood Farm Winery, 12442 McCowan Road, Stouffville, 905-642-4720 has apple orchards containing MacIntosh, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Cortland, Royal Gala, Spartan and Paula Red, Spencer varieties. Pick-your-own apples are $25 per half bushel bag minus one admission fee per bag. Admission is $5. Hours after Labour Day 2012 are Monday and Tuesdays closed, Wednesday-Friday noon to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thanksgiving Monday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Devins Orchards, 14847 Warden Avenue, Stouffville, 905-888-1637 is closed for fall 2012 due to extreme frost in spring. Will be open next year.
Brampton Pick Your Own Apple Farms
- The Big’r Apple Farm, Heritage Road, 1 1/2 kilometres north of Steeles, 905-455-8414 is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Due to the spring 2012 frost, the apple farm has reduced varieties for picking, but has Ginger Gold, Gala and Wealthy apples for picking in early September, Jonagold and Cortland available for pick-your-own in mid-September and Golden Delicious and Fortune varieties for picking in early October.
- Al Ferri & Sons Orchards and Country Apple Store, 8605 Heritage Road, 905-455-8202 will not be offering pick-your-own apples this year due to the spring 2012 frost