Back in the day, my family and I would squeeze in an apple picking excursion in Santa Ynez’s Apple Lane Farms. This quaint apple picking orchard was convenient for us whenever we needed a break from Solvang’s local wine tasting, Buellton’s ostrich petting zoo or Los Olivos’ selection of artisanal dining.
It was a shock to me to find out that this well-loved orchard planned to close its doors to the public during harvest season in 2013. I checked again this year to hear if things have changed, but alas, I received no call back from Apple Lane Farms.
I lamented on this occurrence with a fellow mommy friend, who then told me that she grew up picking apples every summer at her uncle’s apple orchard somewhere in San Diego County, that there are indeed other apple orchards in Southern California — in Yucaipa and in Julian — and that we should plan to go this autumn “because it would be a great day trip.”
We both resolved to check out the Oak Glen/Yucaipa apple orchards in San Bernardino County this weekend and have decided to invite our mutual family friends to make this experience more memorable for us.
What a wonderful experience for all!
The 1-1/2 hour, 90+ mile drive to Oak Glen paid off. I mean, look at the view of this beautiful apple orchard (one of many):
This fine lady offered us a tasting of the variety of apples grown on this particular farm:
We later learn that the other half of our group was at another orchard just 1/2 mile away from our first stop, so we decided to meet everyone there for a quick group picnic before continuing our apple picking journey.
Everyone had a blast at Los Rios Rancho picking fresh apples off the trees. What was unexpected was the other family-friendly activities this orchard offered, such as petting zoos, demonstrations of how apple cider is made, ample opportunities for shopping endlessly for anything related to apples and indulging in delicious candied apples, as if the fresh apples didn’t offer its own natural deliciousness.
One of my friends insisted that we make another trip to Snow-Line Orchards. I asked why and she said we will know as soon as we get the parking fairies to work for us so that we get out of our car to “experience the air,” whatever that meant.
There were the usual apple tasting stations that we expected.
But she was right… the draw of this place began with the delivery of the sugary-cinnamon scent that perfumed the air. The line of people waiting for Snow-Line’s famous Apple Cider Mini Donuts says it all…
… and a vision of this production just made me squeal with joy as we anticipated devouring a dozen of these mini-donuts during the one-hour wait.
There was also a grassy area at Snow-Line for people to picnic and/or enjoy eating the warm and delicious donuts.
“What? You only bought one-dozen after standing in line for an hour?” my husband asked.
Sigh. I wasn’t thinking. I was too enamored by the turning fall leaves and the crate of apples already awaiting us.
12261 Oak Glen Road
Yucaipa, CA 92399
Riley’s Farm at Los Rios Rancho
39611 Oak Glen Road
Oak Glen, CA 92399
Snow Line Orchards
39400 Oak Glen Road
Yucaipa, CA 92399
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