This weekend we had the opportunity to drive up to Willowbrook Apple Farm in Yucaipa, CA. It was about an hour and a half drive from Orange County, which wasn’t too bad at all- considering we stopped for some coffee and Krispy Kreme’s donuts along the way!
I’d never been to an apple farm and actually didn’t expect it to turn into an all day thing but we totally got carried away and spent our entire Sunday at the farm! Along the way to “our” apple farm there were about a half dozen others that we passed by, none of which were very packed. Once we finally got to the front of the Willowbrook farm, we were shocked to see a line (of 30 other people!) waiting just to get into the farm. We played with the idea of just walking back towards another one of the less crowded farms but decided that obviously this one had to be packed for a reason so we’d better just stick it out.
So we waited our turn and once inside we were sooo glad we stayed. The farm was full of rows and rows of gigantic apple trees, giving the perfect fall scenery to a very “fall” day. Upon entering, they let you choose between a 3 lb bag and a 5 lb bag which they supply you with, then on your way out you pay for your bag full of apples. The 3 lb bag was $9 and the 5 lb bag was $14 and you just fill your bag up as much as you possibly can!
As we roamed the orchards we met a few of their resident farm animals- a 12 lb bunny named Floppy (THE biggest rabbit I’ve ever seen), a miniature horse named Comet, a miniature donkey named Star, a pot-belly pig, and a ton of chickens! Honestly the miniature horse was my favorite, he was just too cute!
We got to the farm at 12:30 and left around 4, which we really had no intention of doing. I didn’t think we’d end up staying so long! But they just had so much to do! After paying for our 3 lb bag of apples they ask if you’d like to make your own apple cider (DUH!) so of course we paid another $12 for a half gallon pitcher. Once you pay they give you a plastic bag and write the size of the cider you’d like to make. Then you walk up to the “Cider Station” where they have employees ready to teach you how to work the machines that crush the apples. To do the cider, they actually give you a basket and then you can choose apples that they have sitting in a HUGE bin full of water (think bobbing for apples type thing); that way you don’t end up using your own apples and going home empty handed after all that hard work pickin’ em!
What I learned at the Apple Farm
- If an apple is “ready” all you have to do is twist the stem three times. If it doesn’t fall off by that third twist; it’s not yet ready to go home with you!
- The most red apples aren’t always the ripest. Apples come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Some even look slightly brown, which you’d think make them rotten; but they’re still good!
- Just because an apple might have scratches/ scars also doesn’t mean they’re bad. Some of the best types of apples are unique in that scarring is a part of their ripening process.
- Apples have the potential to last 2 weeks if you keep them in the fridge and freshly made apple cider can last 6 months if you keep it in the freezer!
- Organic, freshly made apple cider literally tastes EXACTLY like apple juice. I have to admit, I was slightly nervous to actually try ours. I thought it might taste like those “all too healthy/green” drinks that you want to like but have such a hard time with. BUT luckily; ours tasted exactly as if we bought it at the store (only we know that ours isn’t filled with preservatives and pumped with artificial sugar, so win for us!)
If you ever go to an apple farm and have the opportunity to make your own cider, I highly recommend you do it! I was shocked to see that people didn’t even realize that they could! We were one of the first in line and then it got packed pretty quickly; I think once people realized what was going on (they didn’t exactly advertise the DIY cider as much as the pick your own apples thing).
I’ll post a video of our experience later on this week! Happy Monday y’all!