“The apple crop was definitely early this year,” said Glenn Monnin of Monnin’s Fruit Farm. “But you can’t tell Mother Nature anything.”
According to Shasta Napier, farm manager of Irons Fruit Farm in Lebanon, apples are about two weeks ahead of schedule and slightly smaller than usual.
“Spring started early this year and we had a lot of warm weather and 49 days of drought,” Napier said. “Apples are very weather-dependent, and Mother Nature does her thing.”
Growing schedule aside, Monnin and Napier agree nothing beats a fresh-picked apple.
“The taste difference between a grocery store apple and a fresh apple is unbelievable,” Napier said. “You actually get to experience what fruit is supposed to taste like.”
“And you know you’re always going to get a quality product,” Monnin said. “In a store, you don’t always know what you’re going to get or how old it is.”
Fresh picked apples taste good but picking apples is also good for you.
Even a short, low-intensity walk can boost your mood and energy level as well as burn calories. Studies have also shown exercise in nature has a positive impact on overall mental health, including a decrease in tension, depression and anger.
Apple picking can also be a relationship-building activity, especially as a fun day with friends and family.
“Being in business as long as we have, we have a lot of loyal customers and have seen generations of people come out here,” Monnin said. “It’s a tradition for so many families.”
Fresh for the Picking – Area U-Pick Apples
* Irons Fruit Farm
What: U-pick apples, 27 varieties, available by the bag or bushel, includes a hayride.
Where: 1640 Stubbs Mill Road, Lebanon
Info: For updates, visit the farm’s Facebook page or call 513-932-2853.
* Monnin’s Fruit Farm
What: More than 20 varieties of U-pick apples available throughout the season.
Where: 8201 Frederick Pike, Dayton
Info: Visit www.monninsfruitfarm.com or Facebook for updates or call 937-890-4536.
* Peifer Orchards
What: U-Pick apples – 25 varieties throughout the season – available most weekends through October.
Where: 4590 U.S. 68 N., Yellow Springs
Info: Call 937-767-2208 or visit www.peiferorchards.com for current crop reports.
* The Pink House Orchard
What: A variety of U-pick apples and hosting Apple Gathering Day festivities on Sept. 16.
Where: 5669 West Kessler-Cowlesville Road, West Milton
Info: Visit www.thepinkhouseorchard.com or the orchard’s Facebook page for availability.
* Tüken’s Orchard & Farm Market
What: Apple Picking Days run through mid-October with more than 30 varieties of apples.
Where: 15725 Eaton Pike, West Alexandria
Info: Visit the orchard’s Facebook page for regular u-pick updates.
* Wesler Orchards & Farm Market
What: U-pick apples are available and cider season is underway at the orchard that has been operating since 1930
Where: 9319 Wesler Road, New Paris
Info: Visit https://weslerorchards.com and Facebook for updates or call 937-437-8921.