I am so ready for fall. The summer has been lingering on for way too long and I have just about had it with the endless over 100 degree days. One of the earliest signs of fall is when Apple Hill, located just outside Sacramento, opens to the public every year on Labor Day weekend. Crowds of city-dwellers shed their shorts and swimsuit coverups and get dressed for a day in Apple Hill with plaid shirts, cutoff jeans and boots in a desperate attempt to get fall to make even the slightest appearance.
This weekend was actually semi-cool, meaning 86 degrees so at least some departure from the oppressive heat we have been experiencing for way too long. We decided to really try to indulge in some cool weather by getting a really early start and meeting friends in Apple Hill at 9:30 am in the morning. One of the best farms to get a really early start and get the full fall experience is Sun Mountain Farm, a you-pick apple farm that has been a repeat visit destination for us for years. With friendly owners, a picnic table area and acres of apples it’s a fun adventure for anyone looking to pick their own apples and get a real farm experience.Sun Mountain Farm is a small family farm producing many varieties of apples, blueberries and wine grapes that have been enjoyed in award winning wines from El Dorado County. Apple varieties at the farm include Fuji, Gala, Cameo, Mutsu, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith and varieties rotate as they ripen throughout the season. This year has been a particularly early season so apple picking started two weeks ago and should continue for the season through October. Growing practices on the farm are personally managed with strict attention to sustainable agricultural methods and underlying scientific principles and the apples even though are not certified organic, are grown with limited chemical intervention.Apple you-pick is open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm weekends through apple season and during the week by appointment. Definitely call the farm ahead to ensure apples are available for picking as they do get picked over as the season gets busier. Apples are $1 lb. and bags are sold by the $5 or $10 size and you pre-pay prior to picking. Bring cash since the farm does not accept credit cards. Sun Mountain Farm is located at 3000 N Canyon Rd in Camino, CA and can be reached by phone at 530-621-3740. There is no running water available to guests and one outhouse restroom is available. Parking is in a dirt lot on the edge of the farm.
For more information on Apple Hill farms visit the Apple Hill Growers Association.