For us city-dwellers, what’s a more charming way to ring in autumn than going out and hand-picking a bushel of perfectly ripe apples to bring home? The added bonus of fresh apple cider and hot apple pie makes a day trip to Julian well worth the hour and 15-minute drive. Though several larger orchards are staying closed due to the drought, there are still a few options out there – bring the kids and experience apple picking in Julian this year.
This is one of the only Certified Organic Orchards (CCOF) in the area, and they’ve been growing apples and pears since 2000. Apple varietals available for U-Pick include Jonagold and Gala as well as Bartlett pears. Picking season began here Labor Day weekend, and lasts until the fruit runs out (typically until early October). One picking bag costs $25 and each additional bag is $15. Open 10am-5pm daily. 1287 Julian Orchards Drive, Julian 92036. (760) 305-2169.
Volcan Valley Farm
As Julian’s largest orchard, this beautiful space comes alive with 7,000 trellis-grown apple trees. Choose between seven different varieties, including Gravenstein, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith. A bag is $12 to fill up yourself. Bonus – you’re allowed to sample as you go along to ensure you’re getting the ripest pick. Open from 10am-4pm daily. 1284 Julian Orchards Drive, Julian 92036. (760) 807-1816.
Peacefield is open weekends starting September 12, from 9:30am-4:30pm and weekdays by appointment. This beautiful orchard has a variety of red and green apples available for u-pick. Make a day of it: bring a packed lunch and use the picnic area or relax in the Meditation Garden. Also be sure to visit the Gravenstein Apple Tree, which has been with the family orchard for 115 years! Admission is $10 per person (kids 3 and under are free). 3803 Wynola Road, Julian. (769) 443-3930.
Other Places to Visit…
O’Dell’s Pear Orchard
If you’re looking to do something other than apple picking in Julian, this is your place! O’Dell’s is home to approximately 400 trees and several pear varieties, including Bartlett, Anjou, and Bosc. They are a family-oriented farm that welcomes small children and large groups. This is also a working farm, so there are plenty of animals to see; kids will delight in checking out the chickens, goats, and horses on the property. Open 11am-4pm for u-pick on weekends, and by appointment only on weekdays. 1095 Julian Orchard Drive, Julian CA. (760) 765-1174.
The Cider Mill has been in operation since 1975 and sells a multitude of delicious gifts: apples, pears, preserves, raw honey, French prunes, Italian plums, dried fruits, nuts, candy, caramel apples, and more. Enjoy this old-fashioned spot and grab some hot cider while you shop. Corner of Main and B Streets, Julian. (760) 765-1430.
SEE ALSO: Fried Cinnamon Apple Rings Recipe
Arguably one of the best places to visit in the Julian/Ramona area. Explore a real, working camel farm and choose from all kinds of goodies: hand-crafted camel milk soap, lotions, and even camel milk chocolate. They offer tours of the farm – and for the more adventurous, camel rides. Located between Ramona and Julian on Highway 78. 26757 Old Julian Highway, Ramona 92065.
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