September is just beginning and in Arizona that means apple season is in full swing. Did you know our Arizona apple growers produce close to 20 million pounds per year? That is a lot of apples.
One of Arizona’s better known apple orchards is Apple Annie’s in Wilcox, Arizona. Apple Annie’s invites the public to experience the fun of picking their own apples, or make selections from already picked apples. They have Braeburn, Criterion, Golden and Red Delicious apples available. Apple Annie’s will be hosting two fun, apple themed events this season. Apple picking is available daily, but special activities are on weekends only during their special events.
• Apple Annie’s Apple Harvest Celebration 2015
Fruit Orchards Location
September 5th – 7th, & 12th & 13th
o Celebrate the peak of the apple season with several varieties of crispy, delicious, tree-ripened apples!
o Experience the fun of picking your own apples, or select from already picked apples.
o Come early to enjoy the delicious “All You Can Eat” pancake breakfast served with hot apple topping or cider syrup, served each day from 7:30 AM – 10:30 AM.
o Apple-smoked burger lunches will be served from 11:30 AM – 3 PM.
o Free wagon rides will take you to the orchards for picking.
o Asian pears will also be available for picking.
o Homemade apple pies are baked fresh daily, and don’t miss the delicious “apple crumb pie ice cream”, made in their Amish ice cream freezer.
**September 12 Tractor Pull, Antique tractor show
• Apple Annie’s My-Oh-My Apple Pie Weekend & Country Craft Fair 2015
Fruit Orchards Location
September 19th – 20th
o A celebration of all things Apple Pie!
o Start your day with their famed “All-You-Can Eat” pancake with apple pie syrup breakfast, served both mornings from 7:30 AM – 10:30 AM.
o Enjoy free samples of scrumptious apple pies!
o Indulge in homemade Apple Crumb Pie ice cream!
o Apple-smoked burger lunches served 11:30 AM – 3 PM.
o Complimentary wagon rides to the orchard for pick-your-own apples.
o Crafters from around Arizona will be set up from 8 AM – 4 PM each day with beautiful handmade crafts for sale.
o My-Oh-My Apple Pie Weekend is a great way to celebrate the beginning of fall!
If you are visiting Apple Annie’s, or one Arizona’s other farms with “u-pick” apples, for the first time you may need some help. Pickyourown.org offers these apple picking tips:
1. Select bruise-free, firm apples.
2. The color can be anything from dark green, to yellow, bright red, dark red or even a combination. It all depends on the variety. Color is not really how you tell when an apple is ripe. Apples should be crisp and firm.
3. The key is to ask the farmer which are ripe. They will know because it is calculated from the number of days since the trees flowered. (As we are in peak apple season here, most apples should be ready.) The farmer will also know what characteristics to look for in the particular apple varieties that they are growing.
4. Apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so the apples out the outside of the tree will ripen first. Once they are picked, they stop ripening.
5. Roll the apple upwards off the branch and give a little twist; don’t pull straight away from the tree.
6. It is perfectly fine to take the apple you are trying to pick if it drops to the ground. Just wash before eating.
7. Once picked, don’t throw the apples into the baskets, place them in gently, or they will bruise and go bad more quickly.
8. Don’t wash apples until just before using to prevent spoilage.
9. Keep apples cool after picking to increase shelf life. A cool basement is ideal, but the fruit/vegetable drawer of a refrigerator will work, too. Kept cool, fresh-picked apples will generally keep weeks, but it DOES depend on the variety.
10. High humidity helps to keep the apples from shriveling, but don’t let them get wet. A wet towel placed nearby helps to keep the humidity up.
11. Do not store apples near potatoes. As they age, potatoes release an ethylene gas, which makes apples spoil faster.
After you have picked your apples, why not try one of the apple recipes we have here on Fill Your Plate? Try this Apple Mesquite Crunch to get you started.
Apple Mesquite Crunch
• 4 Apples. peeled and cored
• 8-10 Graham Crackers, crushed
• 1/2 cup Butter
• 1/2 cup Cheri’s Mesquite Syrup
Mix cracker crumbs and butter thoroughly. Slice apples. Butter 1 quart baking dish and place apples in bottom of dish. Pour syrup over apples and add cracker and butter mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with whipped cream or ice cream.
Cheri’s Desert Harvest in Tucson, AZ