Greetings to all this beautiful and sometimes smoky Reno Fall. Many in our area are counting the days until they can make their annual daytrip out to Apple Hill, but did you know there are some great options closer to home as well? This month’s Tips from a Local will give you a few alternatives to Apple Hill-all 90 minutes or less from Reno. I’ll also give you some important tips and a quick rundown of the most popular places to hit if you do make the roughly 2 ½ hour drive out there to the gaggle of apple farms out in Placerville, California, better known to us as “Apple Hill”.
Agape Organics, Washoe Valley (a.k.a.- Franktown Apples or The Apple Basket):
7425 Franktown Road, Washoe Valley, NV
Open Saturday, September 12, 2021, through October or until apples are sold out.
I, personally, was shocked when I learned that we have a great U-Pick Apple Orchard right here in Washoe County just south of Reno! Nestled down in beautiful, spread-out Washoe Valley, Agape Organics is the only USDA certified organic, sustainably grown commercial apple orchard in northern Nevada. Pests are controlled at the farm by all-natural methods with no oils, chemicals or insecticides in use.
The orchard of 200 dwarf apple trees is situated on the division between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Great Basin, just east of Lake Tahoe. It includes Braeburn, Cameo, Gala and Golden Delicious varieties. It is operated by Al and Delane Pennington. Al is a retired airline pilot and a Christian minister. Delane is a retired public school teacher and author of children’s books.
This great find offers pick-your-own apples from mid-September through October. The 5-acre property also includes a gift shop and picnic area. Children will get a kick out of watching the many varieties of free-range chicken and geese that live in the orchard that provide additional pest control.
Activities at this site include: Apple picking, picnics, and special events. Large groups are welcome by appointment during apple season. Dogs are permitted in the picnic areas.
Andelin Farm, Spanish Springs:
8100 Pyramid Way, Sparks, NV
Opens September 29
So, you’re now covered to get your apple picking on closer to home. What’s next?
Another gem of our area is family-owned Andelin Farm. Though it is known best for the U-Pick Pumpkins in the Fall, you can also make a note for next year that all of August they have U-Pick Sunflowers and man are they gorgeous!
Back in the 1980s, Cameron Andelin’s family purchased the farm and in 2009, he moved his wife, Natalie, and 5 kids to work and live on the farm. Over the years it has grown leaps and bounds. In addition to a pumpkin patch, the farm now features 2 corn mazes, corn creepers a haunted attraction, a cow train ride, baby animal days, summer farm camp, weddings, and birthday parties. They also sell pork, beef, fresh produce, seasonal veggies, eggs, honey and Natalie’s homemade jams and jellies.
Included in your pumpkin patch admission price is access to the U-Pick pumpkin patch, hay rides, barrel train rides, visiting the friendly farm animals, straw bale maze, hamster wheel, lassoing activity and more fun barnyard activities.
Lattin Farms, Fallon:
1955 McLean Road Fallon, NV
Open Saturdays October 2 – October 30 and Nevada Day, October 29
In addition to U-Pick pumpkins in October, you can also come earlier in the Fall before the weather turns to pick seasonal produce like raspberries, grapes and tomatoes. Fallon’s beloved Lattin Farms is owned by Rick and B. Ann Lattin, a family who has been farming the Lahontan Valley for five generations. Like Andelin, they also feature sunflowers in Summertime-usually late July and early August weekends.
Each Saturday in October, the farm becomes a fall festival. This year you will find the corn maze, pumpkin patch, cow train, scarecrow factory, and crafters’ market. with produce and shelves with homemade jams, breads, and canned goods. Come out on Saturday, October 16 to experience the tradition of the lighting of the pumpkin tower (pictured above), with over 200 pumpkins carved by volunteers. It is lit at dusk and then every night after that for the rest of October.
Corley Ranch, Gardnerville:
859 U.S. Highway 395 South, Gardnerville, NV
Open Daily October 1 – October 31
The Corley Ranch is a real working ranch raising cattle, farming, hay and pumpkins that spans nearly 300 acres with the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains as its backdrop. It dates all the way back to 1861, having been purchased by Jon and Paula Corley in 1997.
They invite visitors to come experience a “real-time ranch feeling” and the “western atmosphere”. In addition to holding special events, every October they transform their ranch into their October Harvest Festival & U-Pick Pumpkin Patch.
But if Apple Hill is gonna happen..here are the ground rules…
If you can go on a weekday, do that. Weekends, especially in October, are nutty over there. If you must do a weekend, make it an early morning and leave early enough to get to the farms when they are opening. It will be the only time in the day where you won’t be inching along the roads between farms.
Prepare by dressing in layers and bring sunscreen. Pack a cooler with lunch to keep things super simple when you end up at your last ranch or winery or bring a cooler purely for the great pies, wines, and various deliciousness you want to bring home safe and ready to enjoy. There are so many goodies and it would be a shame to bring them home melted or otherwise ruined!
Do a little homework so you know where the ranch/farms are located and their hours of operation. My GPS started acting special when I tried to restart it once in the area. I wished I would have printed out a small map before, printed directions or something of the sort. Here is an example of a map to print: APPLE HILL MAP
Apple Hill Points of Interest:
- Rainbow Orchards: Delicious apple cider doughnuts, apple cider, and corn dogs with a grassy area in the back with plenty of picnic tables and hay bales for kids to play on.
- High Hill Ranch: Delicious apple cider milkshakes, a fishing pond great to make a picnic next to, as well crafts and vendors for shopping.
- Larsen Apple Barn: Great variety of apples at good prices to take home with you, amazing grass area, plus they have an old farm museum to walk through.
- Boa Vista Orchards: Cider, exceptional pies, jam, jellies, and so much more.
- Denver Dan’s : U-Pick apples while it lasts.
- Abel’s Apple Acres: Gourmet caramel apple and kid’s activities.
- Delfino Farms – Winery with a beautiful vineyard view. Try the apple dumplings with cider sauce.
- Apple Bistro – Decent menu with regional wines, fresh baked goods, and beautiful patio with panoramic views of the El Dorado County.
- Jack Russell Farm Brewery – Great assortment of beers, hard ciders and meads. Perfect place to wind up at the end of the day (or even midday if you get an early start)!
We are so happy the Caldor Fire did not veer towards Apple Hill. Even with the fire kept away, you may be inspired to check out some Fall fun closer to home. Especially for parents of littles, 2 ½ hours each way in one day is a pretty substantial trek.
The great options for Fall in Reno and close by are just one more reason to love this city. Get out there and support our local farms-both those listed and those not. Check into farmers’ markets and co-ops to get veggie baskets. When we make an effort to buy local and get Nevada-grown produce, it always tastes the best anyway! Happy Fall y’all! See you next month for more Tips from a Local.
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Lexi King is a wife and a mom of 2 teens and a new Marine. She has been Executive Assistant to a Reno area CEO for almost a decade and is the writer/creator of the lifestyle blog, Rhythm&Rubbish: One wise-ish mom to another: Finding joy in the tension between the daily routines we embrace (the rhythms) and the unexpected nonsense we endure (the rubbish). Her dream is to travel, to share stories, to write, and to make a living doing all 3.
Follow along with us each month for Lexi’s special “Tips from a Local” review – featured exclusively on WorkLivePlayRenoTahoe.com