It’s a quintessential fall activity that’s as vital as carving pumpkins, wearing flannel, and PSLs from Starbucks. Regardless of who the Steelers are playing, you always need to carve out one weekend to round up your friends, find a date, or bring your dog to one of the U-Pick apple orchards in the Burgh.
Head in any direction from the city, and you’ll have an orchard, basket, and, most likely, some fresh apple butter waiting for you.
If you live north of Pittsburgh, your allegiance for farm fresh produce is a constant battle between Soergel Orchards in Wexford and Shenot Farm, less than two miles away. Well, this fall, score one for Soergel because they have apple picking — and let us tell you, it’s delightful. During their Fall Festival Weekends, you can pick over 19 varieties of apples (including the monstrous Honeycrisp), then pair it with hard cider from Arsenal Cider, who has a taproom on the premises.
You know how your social feeds are filled with your friends going apple picking come mid-October? We bet you more than half of them are from Simmons Farm in McMurray. Why? On top of hayrides, corn mazes, and a pumpkin patch, they have an enormous, sprawling orchard of apples from Fuji to Gala to Winesap (you may get lost). Stack your friend (or date) on your shoulders to reach the shiniest Empire apple! Fitt Tip: if it’s a particularly cold day, cut the chill with a piping hot cup of apple cider from the Farm Market.
Triple B Farms
If you need a really fresh peck for your famous apple pie or just have a hankering for Honeycrisp (they’re heavenly), Triple B Farms in Monongahela has your fix. Their PYO (pick-your-own) goes down on the weekends and is what fall is supposed to be. Their beautiful orchard is chock-full of apples for baking, and more importantly, for the snacking. Plus, their trees are super accessible — pick with one hand, sip coffee with the other.
If you 100% believe that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then Norman’s Orchard in Tarentum should be where you stock up this fall. Seriously, though — go crazy. You can wildly pick tons of fresh seasonal varieties of apples to take home by the pound, by the peck (that a farm term for ¼ bushel), and by the half or full bushel (basically, Costco-sized). And fresh apple cider is offered throughout the whole month of October!
Half Crown Hill Orchard
If all the reaching, jumping, and partner acrobatics aren’t what you had in mind for finding a shiny apple, Half Crown Hill Orchard in McDonald may be the perfect stop. They have dwarf apple trees. Standing about one-third of the size of your traditional fruit tree, your Ginger Gold, Gala, and Cortland picks are all at eye-level. Call this one “apple picking for beginners”. Fitt Tip: they made their own creamed honey this year — pick up a jar for your morning toast.