4 Must-Visit Apple Orchards in Chicago

September 22, 2014 | By JD Eaton
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

It’s hard to believe that summer is already over, but sweater weather is officially here. Fall presents the perfect opportunity to escape downtown Chicago for a day and explore treasures outside of the city. Grab a cardigan and embark on a family-friendly, apple-picking adventure. We’ve narrowed down the options and selected four fabulous apple orchards in the Chicago-area to pick from.

1. Jonamac Orchard – 19412 Shabbona Road, Malta

About 70 miles west of the city, Jonomac Orchard grows dozens of apple varieties, where there is no admission fee to pick your own apples. This past weekend, the orchard store was selling eight different kinds from Honeycrisp to RiverBelle and the u-pick options were Golden Delicious and Ruby Jon. The activities at Jonomac Orchard are endless and include: a petting zoo, apple train, hay bale pile, rubber duck races, giant jumping pillow, pony rides, and campfires (which are reservable). Adult visitors can also enjoy wine sampling and live music by Silver Creek.

2. Garden Patch Farm – 14158 W. 159th Street, Homer Glen

Looking for some corn stalks and gourds to make that perfect fall display in your downtown Chicago apartment? Garden Patch Farm has all of the authentic decorations, plus an enormous selection of fall vegetables available for u-pick. Due to the extreme winter, the apples have been harvested already and are only for sale in the store. After stocking up on fresh veggies, stop at the market and try a fresh apple cider donut or caramel apple.

3. Kuipers Family Farm – 1N318 Watson Road, Maple Park

Kuipers Family Farm isn’t just an apple orchard; it’s also a pumpkin patch and when fall is over, Chicagoans can head back to pick up a local Christmas tree. Apples and pumpkins can be bought in the store, or as u-pick on the weekends. Open through the end of October, the pumpkin farm offers over 20 family-friendly activities such as: pig races, a tractor tire mountain, haywagon ride, peddle tractor derby, haunted forest, playground and a corn maze with three difficulty levels. In addition to the fall favorites like fresh cider and donuts, the orchard shop also sells homemade fudge.

4. Heinz Orchard – 1050 Crest Road, Green Oaks

If the tractor rides and corn mazes aren’t your scene, make the quick trip to Heinz Orchard. This small, family-run business encourages visitors to bring wagons and strollers into the orchard, where there is no admission or parking fee. However, hours and apple availability change week to week, so be sure to check their website before heading north.

Take advantage of fall activities during this gorgeous time of year! Fresh, local produce and sweater weather won’t last forever– polar vortex season is right around the corner.

In the comments below, please let us know if we missed any of your favorite u-pick apple orchards in Chicago!

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