Best of Apple Hill 2015. Apples for Lunchboxes and Canning. Larsen Apple Barn (Camino, CA)

Apple Hill located in El Dorado County, just outside Sacramento, is our fall obsession. To be honest, we live so close, about 20 minutes away, we visit year-round only during fall we are even more frequent in our trips up Highway 50. Apple Hill is everything fall should be. Apple picking, hot apple cider, farm animals, pony rides, craft booths for early holiday shopping and people watching. You can find me throwing on a cozy plaid shirt and Uggs and heading up the mountain even during the hotest days of September. Why? Because it’s fall! Let’s get on with it already!

We head up almost weekly to do our fruit and vegetable shopping, so we decided to share our favorite farms with you. Follow along this series of posts, starting today, featuring our “Best Of Apple Hill” suggestions for this Apple Hill season.

A friend shared her family secret for finding the best apples for canning about five years ago and we have been going back year after year ever since. Larsen Apple Barn is the longest running family-owned farm in Apple Hill and has been running since 1860. It’s apple farm store is a picturesque corrogated metal barn filled with one of the widest arrays of apple varieties complete with apple tasting table.

For purposes of our “Best Of” review I’m keeping this one short and sweet. Larsen Apple Barn has the cheapest and best apples for canning that we have found. We not only use these apples for applesauce we buy our weekly lunchbox apples here because we can score a 40 lb box for only $16. These boxes are called their “seconds” and that just means they are smaller or have minor defects that make them less desirable than the full price apples sold here. We think they are perfect because they are the best size for our tots and we don’t waste any apples with half-eaten rejects and we don’t mind the defects at all.

Today the seconds boxes included Braeburn, Gala, Golden Delicious, Mutsu and Red Delicious as available varieties. As the season goes on sometimes these seconds boxes won’t be out in the sales area so be sure to ask a sales rep to grab you one from the back.

A tasting table is staffed by employees so visitors can try any of the varieties they are interested in purchasing. Also available for tasting are pears, grapes and peaches as available throughout the season.

Have we convinced you yet? If you are going to visit make sure you come Sunday-Friday, the farm is closed every Saturday and open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with a musuem and bake shop also available to visitors. If you pack a lunch Larsen owns the park right across the street that has picnic tables and shady areas for kids to run around.

Larsen Apple Barn is open from now through the Sunday after Thanksgiving, closed Saturdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at 2461 Larsen Dr, Camino, CA 95709 and restrooms and parking are available.