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Where to Go Apple Picking: Bay Area + Northern California Guide (2023)

Updated 2023: Want crisp fresh apples? It doesn’t get any fresher than straight from the tree.
By - posted 8/22/2023 No Comment

Want fresh apples? It doesn’t get any fresher than straight from the tree. There are lots of local farms near San Francisco where you can pick your own apples.

Peak apple-picking season near the Bay Area is typically September and October. But don’t wait – many people who wait until later in the season are disappointed that many varieties have slim pickings. The following apple orchards offer apple picking for free, but you’ll buy what you pick, of course.

Updated 8/7/23

Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch

U-Pick is expected to open for the sesaon in September 2023. In 2022, they opened September 25. Updated 8/14/23

Sebastopol | Located in the rolling hills of Sonoma County, pack a picnic and head to a local, family-run farm focused on apples and pears. Their ranch has picnic tables and ample parking. In addition to apples, you can also take home some of their award-winning crisp apple cider. Their “U-pick” season is typically offered September and October (but possibly through early December) where you can harvest your own Gravenstein, Golden Delicious, and Roman Beauty apples. Pears are also available for U-Pick. Updated 8/10/23

  • Open 9am to 4pm, September to early December. Closed on Thursdays and Saturdays (however, the website also states Sundays. We think they are open on Sundays for U-Pick season). Check Facebook for season updates and exact dates. Times are subject to change for the 2023 season.
  • Apples: Golden Delicious, Gravenstein and Roman Beauty Apples (and Pears): $2.50/lb – no reservations needed, no minimums
  • Cider: Gallon $10; 1/2 gallon $7; organic 1/2 gallon $9; quart, $4; pint $2.50, organic pint $3.50
  • Cash and cards are accepted

Gizdich Ranch

U-Pick is expected to open for the sesaon in mid-September 2023. Check the website for the opening date (they anticipate that the fruit will be a little late this year due to the past winter weather). Updated 8/14/23.

Watsonville | Bring the family to one of the most popular U-pick apple orchards in the Bay Area where you can pick your favorite fruit of the season right off the tree or vine and then picnic among the apple trees and the hills. Gizdich Ranch’s “Pik-Yor-Self” program allows you to harvest your own strawberries, olallieberries, boysenberries, and apples. Check their website to find out what’s currently available for U-pick (or call in advance at (831) 722-1056). Don’t miss their pie shop and deli which has seasonal favorites including their famous homemade pies.

  • Apple U-Pick is $1.95/lb (price last confirmed Sept. 2022)
  • Open 9am to 5pm every day; “Pik-Yor-Self” Apple Picking offered weekends only
  • Apple picking season runs from mid-September for about 3-4 weeks

Lucky You Orchards

U-Pick is open September through through the second weekend in November, every Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 3pm. 2023 U-Pick season opens Labor Day Weekend. Updated 8/14/23.

Ripon (San Joaquin County, northwest of Modesto, about 80 miles east of San Francisco)| Lucky You Orchards is a 100+ year old 4th generation organic family farm. Get a real life harvest experience and walk away with the bounty of the season incluidng Organic Early Fujis. Guests of all ages can enjoy a free scenic tractor ride and fresh picked organic apples for $2.99/lb (price to subjec to change for 2023). Admission to the orchards is free; relax among the trees, munch on delicious organic apples and take a scenic tractor ride all while learning how California Apples are grown on this working farm.

Cloverfield Organic Farm

U-Pick is open year-round, but the apple season is tentatively open June through early November. Check their fruit ripening calendar to see what’s in season. 

El Sobrante | East Bay’s Cloverfield Organic Farm is the first USDA certified organic farm in El Sobrante. The tiny farm grows a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and potted plants including rhubarb, mint, peppers, squash, onions, beets, pluots, plums, apples, figs, tomatoes, grapes, garlic, honey, and more. Above the vegetable patch, there’s a meadow that doubles as a picnic area and pasture for Magic Ben, their free-range horse who also moonlights as a theurpeutic horse. A large farm basket filled with about 6-7 different things that you u-pick fresh from the garden and orchard is $36. A single pint basket (or bunch) of fruits, flowers, vegetables, or herbs is $6. Updated 8/22/23

  • Open for public U-pick They are open for public u-picks on Friday-Sunday from noon to 5 pm during Daylight Savings Time and 11am – 4 pm during the winter season
  • Free parking & no reservations needs unless you want a private tour and u-pick experience

Swanton Pacific Ranch 

The U-Pick Apple Orchard season is expected to open mid-September. Updated 8/29/23

Davenport (Santa Cruz County) | The gorgeous 3,200 acre Swanton Pacific Ranch rests among a lush redwood forest, riverine ecosystems and expansive coastal grassland overlooking the bay and the Pacific Ocean. Normally closed to the public, it’s owned and operated by California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) for educational and research in sustainable agriculture, but they open their doors to the public for their organic U-pick apple season which usually runs from Labor Day until they sell out (normally in early October). Their 2-acre orchard produces 16 varieties of apple which ripen progressively throughout the fall allowing for an extended picking season.

  • Browse their Harvest Calendar to see what’s available for picking – from Gingergolds (Late August) through Suntans (Oct.-Nov.)
  • Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday from 9am to 5pm – typically from Labor Day until early October.
  • Apples are $2.50/lb

Apple Hill

Greater Placerville (50 miles east of Sacramento) | If you’re up for a little road trip to a countryside getaway, drive along Highway 50 between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, to a bountiful Gold Country with 50 locales featuring fruit orchards, roadside stands, ranches, breweries, tree farms, wineries and even a spa. Check out their Harvest Calendar to find out what’s in season and review their detailed Apple Hill Growers map. View the apple varieties by farm, or download their dedicated app for updated info on every ranch plus food, lodging, events and more. Updated 8/16/23

  • Denver Dan’s Apple Patch – 35 varieties of you-pick apples. Sept 2 – Dec 4; Open Friday – Sunday & Monday holidays, 9am – 5pm
  • Harris Family Farm – You-pick berries, flowers, apples and pumpkins. Bake shop and picnic area too. June 2 – Dec 24, Thursday – Sunday (and Monday holidays), 9am – 4:30pm
  • Smokey Ridge Farm – 17 varieties of tree-ripened apples, with tastings so you can compare varieties side by side. Pears, chestnuts, figs and persimmons available for you-pick as well. Fri-Sun, 9am – 5pm
  • Pine-O-Mine Ranch – Home of apple picking, pumpkins, apple cider shakes, and plenty of outdoor seating and picnic areas. Friday-Sundays, 11am – 5pm

Find more Apple Hill You-Pick farms.

The Apple Hill region typically extends the apple picking season throughout October where you can harvest Fuji, Granny Smith, and Pink Ladies. Check out Sactown Mag’s Ultimate Guide to Apple Hill for more info and tips.

Find a pick-your-own farm near you.

Other Fall Activities