U-Pick Apples at Twin Hill Ranch in Sebastopol
August 6, 2013Posted by pamela |
Every year at in late summer we head up to western Sonoma County in search of ripe apples to pick. Apple-picking season in the Bay Area starts in late July or August and runs throughout the fall. Local favorite Gravensteins kick off the season, and you can work your way through Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Rome, Braeburn, Fuji, and other varieties through the course of the fall.
This is one of our favorite things to do in August, and we always end up with plenty of apples for making things like apple pie, apple crisp, and apple sauce, and of course including in school lunches, too.
Last weekend we visited Twin Hill Ranch in Sebastopol to pick apples. You might be familar with Twin Hill Ranch from the holiday season, when they're a destination for Christmas crafts and holiday goodies. You can, of course, visit them at any time of year, and apple-picking season is a great time to do so. Right now, they have Gravensteins available for u-pick, as well as some Golden Delicious which are just starting to turn ripe.
Twin Hill Ranch has been around for over 60 years, and their apples, while not certified organic, are grown using organic methods. The ranch is an active apple processing and packing facility, and their country store shares space with conveyor belts, crates, refrigerators, and other equipment. They're also set up to welcome visitors, though, with a picnic area and a large lawn where kids can run and play.
Check in at the store to learn about what's ripe and where to find them. Then you're all set to head out into the orchard and pick as many apples as you like. Bring them back to the store for weigh in; the price for u-pick apples at Twin Hill Ranch is $2 per pound, which seems to be the going u-pick rate. Don't forget to bring bags (cloth shopping bags work great) to carry your apples.
The store also offers pre-picked apples and treats like apple bread (our favorite!), apple pie, apple cookies, apple butter, amazing fresh frozen apple juice, apple sauce, olives, honey, preseves, gifts, and more.
This is one of our favorite u-pick places. It's low key, inexpensive, and perfect for a fun day out on the farm. It's a real working farm, too, not a tourist attraction. That's part of the charm, of course. Twin Hill Ranch offers event space for parties and weddings, as well as tours by appointment. It's a favorite place for school field trips, too. For more information, visit www.twinhillranch.com or call (707) 823-2815.
If You Go
Twin Hill Ranch is open Thursday through Monday from 9 am to 4 pm. The u-pick season starts in early August and lasts through the fall until the apples are all gone. If it's late in the season you should call first to check for availability.
Twin Hill will be closed on August 31, September 21 and 29, and October 19 for special events. Check their online calendar before you go to make sure they're open that day.
Twin Hill Ranch is located at 1689 Pleasant Hill Road in Sebastopol. To get there, take Highway 101 north to the Sebastopol/Highway 116 exit in Cotati. Take 116 west into Sebastopol. Turn left on Bloomfield Road and follow it until it becomes Pleasant Hill Road, after the stop sign. Follow Pleasant Hill Road to the intersection with Elphick Road. Turn right on Elphick Road; Twin Hill Ranch will be on your right.
Clean restrooms are available, and food is sold at the ranch's snack bar during the busy holiday season. You can also bring your lunch and eat it at the ranch's picnic area. With plenty of picnic tables, shade, and a beautiful lawn area where the kids can run around, it's a great place to relax before or after apple picking.
Keep in mind that this is a real working farm, so be prepared to get dirty and run across things like tractors, trucks, and other farm equipment. For us, this is a bonus!