Apple Picking in SLO County

Though I grew up in the Midwest with a large apple tree in my backyard–and a crab apple tree–my daughter doesn’t know what it’s like (or how) to pick an apple off the tree. Her favorite apples are the crisp, dark red symetical apples from the grocery store. So it was a bit of a surprise to my daughter when we went out to SLO Creek Farms with some friends last week to pick apples.

Apples were plentiful and the children couldn’t wait to start grabbing apples and toss them into their baskets. But they quickly learned–with moms calling “WAIT! You’ve got to LOOK at the apples before you pull them off the tree!!”–that the apples from these trees are not perfect and many of them have worms in them. One apple my daughter picked, had a worm poking it’s head out the top of the apple. She didn’t see it until I pointed it out, and that caused her to shriek and drop the apple like a hot potato.

The good part of that is that is slowed down the picking process and lessened the number of apples we picked at $3 a pounds. We stayed together and examined the apples before giving them a gentle pull and a twist, if they didn’t come off easy, we left them there for a future picker.

The apple picking date with three other families came up in August at an event at church. One of my friends said, “We’re going apple picking on Sept. 24, can you go?” That’s really all I knew–apples and an afternoon with friends. We started by going to SLO Creek Farms, where we picked apples, flowers and lounged on a blanket under the tree and the kids in a hammock (how many kids can you fit in a hammock?), enjoying the warm fall afternoon.

It didn’t take long, for us to decide to head on to Avila Valley Barn to get some lunch and more farm fun! Some of us did not think far enough ahead to bring lunch, so we joined the long line in the deli at Avila Valley Barn for sandwiches and other food. 

While at Avila Valley Barn, we didn’t do any apple picking, though the children enjoyed feeding the many farm animals (NEW! Chickens and chicks), going through the hay mazes and looking through the piles and piles of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. Amazingly, I did not get asked for a roasted corn. My daughter was too focused on everything else to even notice, which is not usual for her.

Hay mazes at Avila Valley Barn. Photo by Heather Young

From Avila Valley Barn, we decided to head to a small apple farm on See Canyon Road–Creekside Farm at 1691 See Canyon Road. My friends had been there before and swore by the apple cider. As soon as we arrived, the owner started slicing apples for us to sample. It’s always amazing to try different varieties one after another to see how different they taste. Though I already bought a bag of apples from SLO Creek Farms, I couldn’t leave without another bag of apples–my girl loves the dark red apples and those they had, so dark and small that they looked like plums.

Apples abound at Creekside Farms. Photo by Heather Young

As if we hadn’t had enough of apple farms, we decided to stop at the next farm north–See Canyon Fruit Ranch. We tasted several apples and pears and then joined our friends on the grass in the lower area. We were the only ones there and it was relaxing in the mild afternoon looking at the sky and treetops while the children frolicked on the grass.

Rolling down the grassy hill at See Canyon Fruit Ranch. Photo by Heather Young

We were finally done with stopping at farms, and headed on home. I followed my friends from the farm, going a way I hadn’t gone before. We continued north on See Canyon Road, which turns into Prefumo Canyon Road. After a few windy miles, the road turns from a paved one lane road to a dirt one. We passed cows, even one out of its pasture, went up and down hills. Up at the top–we overlooked the coast and had a bird’s eye view of Morro Bay.

With the sun lowering in the sky, the light breeze in the mild temps, it was the perfect end to a fun and relaxing afternoon. It took us right to Los Osos Valley Road. With a right turn, we were only a couple blocks from Madonna Road.

Morro Bay from Perfumo Canyon Road. Photo by Heather Young

There’s still time to get in on the apple picking before the season ends. Another farm I intend to go to with my girl for apple picking is Jack Creek Farms on Highway 46 West. Let us know where you and share your photos with us on social media using #kiddosagogo.

Apple picking at Jack Creek Farms. Photo by Heather Young