Ever since our blueberry-picking adventures this summer, Julian has been begging to go apple picking. When we went to Irons Fruit Farm in July, we were given a tour and overview of all the U-Pick opportunities available at the farm — apple picking being one of them.
We had such a great experience at Irons — the workers were so friendly and kind to my kids; J and M were given their very own buckets; “taste-testing” of the blueberries was encouraged; the prices were very reasonable (there was no per-person fee; you simply paid for the blueberries by the pound); and there were animals, tractors and a playground for the kids.
So, the bar was set high for our return trip to Irons — and, somehow, we had even more fun than before.
After calling earlier in the week, I was told that apple picking happened on weekends only (due to harvest schedules and apple availability). There would be tractor-pulled hayrides to and from the orchards that happened regularly during U-Pick hours. As with the blueberries, we’d pay for our apples by the pound — and taste-testing was okay!
We got there right at 12, and had to see the animals first. Mary loved the “horsie” and I did, too — he let me rub his head and scratch his ears. There’s something very therapeutic about petting such a large and gentle animal.
Meanwhile, Julian was busy chasing the emu back and forth.
While my husband waited for a tractor (they came every 10 minutes), Julian and I went over to inspect one of the large Irons tractors. He climbed up and had a blast pretending to drive. Then, we heard the rumbling of the orchard-bound tractor, and hustled over to take our seats. It was my kids’ first hayride, and they loved it (it was also free! The only fee associated with Irons U-Pick apples are the apples themselves — there aren’t extra charges for rides or the animals).
Once we got to the fields, we were given bags and instructed where to go. Irons has their orchard organized by apple type, and each weekend, a different area is open for picking. This weekend, we got to pick Ida Red apples.
The kids immediately got to work, picking only the best apples. Mary got really into it, and Julian expertly manned the large apple-picking tool.
Harvey, meanwhile, mostly attempted to eat every apple the kids picked — but he actually managed to pick a few himself!
A half bushel later, we were all tired and ready to go. I think the trip was a success, as Julian told one of the workers that he’d learned “how to pick apples today.” He also requested that we make apple pie when we got home. That’s definitely doable — we are also going to make homemade applesauce!
Irons Fruit Farm is located at 1640 Stubbs Mill Road, Lebanon, OH 45036. U-Pick hours are 10-5 on Saturdays and 12-5 on Sundays, but it’s recommended to call before you go to verify apple availability.