Love it or hate it, it’s that time of year again. Fall is here, bringing with it cool nights, Buckeye football, and all things pumpkin spice (including lots of stuff that probably shouldn’t be).
Summer is winding down, but that doesn’t mean your outdoor adventures need to come to an end! We’ve hand-picked this list of Central Ohio’s best apple picking spots so you can experience great fall weather and grab yourself a healthy treat at the same time. Get outside and get picking — it’s crunch time!
CherryHawk Farm Apple Orchard
Does an apple a day actually keep the doctor away? According to a survey of Columbus-area grandmas, yes. Yes, it does. CherryHawk Farm in Marysville is the ideal place to stock up on your favorite healthy snack and get out of the city. Heck, pack a picnic and a blanket for the ultimate autumn date. But one of the coolest things about this quaint country orchard isn’t the apples (although they’re pretty great) — it’s the honey! CherryHawk Farms sells natural, locally-sourced honey made by the same bees that pollinate their apple trees. That’s something to buzz about.
Ever sink your teeth into a juicy Rubinette apple? No? Well, what are you waiting for? Branstool Orchards has tree loads of uncommon apple varieties for you to sample on their farm in Utica. Don’t worry — they still grow all the greatest hits you grew up with, including Golden Delicious, Fuji, and McIntosh. Grab some hand-pressed cider and a stroll through the orchard’s rolling hills. Want to do some heavier lifting? Branstool Orchards also offers U-pick pumpkins for all your fall decorating and Jack-O-Lantern needs.
Tucked away up north in Marion, OH, is Lawrence Orchards and it’s definitely worth the drive. Especially if you’re into apple cider. No, not the kind you grab off of a Kroger shelf (no offense, Kroger). We’re talking about award-winning, all-natural, fresh-pressed golden goodness. If that doesn’t have you northbound in your car right now, maybe their fresh selection of u-pick apples, baked goods, and cuddly farm animals (like goats!) can convince you. Grab your friends and pick a winner.
Lynd Fruit Farm
Some wouldn’t consider apple picking a workout. But with 18 varieties of apples ripe at Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala, you’re going to be doing some serious bushel lifting. Pick your own from September through October while supplies last. Plus, their on-site farm market is stocked full of Ohio-grown produce, pumpkins, and locally-made baked goods. If you’ve stuffed your car full of apples and pumpkin pies and still feel like you need a fall fix, try getting lost in their massive corn maze! We recommend that you take a few apples in with you — you might have trouble finding your way out.
The Orchard and Company
Make yourself a pie (you deserve it). Or maybe you’re just out for a tasty snack you can enjoy right off the branch. Whatever your apple needs may be, The Orchard and Company in Plain City can hook you up. They’ve got 10 varieties of crunchy goodness to pick from, including a few that can be picked well into October. Looking to enhance your apple picking experience even more? This family-friendly orchard has tons of fall-themed activities, including a corn pit, a kids zip line, and a petting zoo full of adorable critters (including more goats).
Apple Hill Orchards
Apple Hill Orchards may be a drive, but trust us when we say this spot is a can’t-miss autumn destination. This orchard actually has two locations — the original in Mansfield and a brand new one in Frederickstown. Beyond their delicious varieties of apples, you can pick up some homemade jams, freshly brewed cider, and one (or a few) of their mouth-watering apple donuts. And don’t forget to say hi to the goats and sheep that live on Apple Hill!
**Updated by Madeline Crider, October 2018