pittsburgh farms

Hello, apple season! At these 6 Pittsburgh farms, you can pick your own

Photo above by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash.

Apples are the perfect snack: sweet, crunchy and thirst-quenching all at once. And they’re a tasty ingredient for pies, muffins and quickbreads. We love that kids love apples, too, which makes apple picking at farms in Pittsburgh and around our region that much more fun.

Pittsburgh-area farms invite families to their orchards to get a better understanding of where apples come from before they reach the neighborhood grocery store.

Apple picking is easy. Here’s the trick: Don’t pull apples straight off the tree. Instead, roll the apple upwards toward the branch and give it a little twist so that it pops off easily. If the apple doesn’t come off effortlessly, it’s not ripe enough. Another tip: Place your picked apples gently in a basket or bag to prevent bruising. Then, take them home and enjoy the fruit of your labor!

Now that it’s the season for apple picking in Pittsburgh, head to these farms for your next family outing:

Photo courtesy of Simmons Farm.

1. Simmons Farm

Apple picking is in full swing at Simmons Farm in McMurray. Times vary according to weather conditions and availability. A wide variety of apples – from Daybreak Fuji to Gala, Jonagold and Ginger Gold — fill the orchard. If your family has a favorite, you can call ahead (724-941-1490) or check the Simmons Farm website or Facebook page to confirm what’s available on a given day.

For added fun, stop by the flower fields for pick-your-own flowers and take home an extravagant bouquet. From sunflowers to wildflowers, you can pay a flat rate and kids will get a bucket and scissors to fill with as many stems as they can fit. Hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily through October, weather permitting.

This is a great spot to bring a picnic lunch and make a family day trip of your farm outing. Kids will love the free petting zoo that’s open during market hours.

Apple picking can be a team sport at Triple B Farms.

2. Triple B Farms

When the season arrives for apple picking in Pittsburgh, many families head to Triple B Farms in Monongahela. The season begins with Ginger Gold, Gala and Honeycrisp before opening up to varietals like Fuji, Cameo and Suncrisp. Pick-your-own operates from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting. Along with those crunchy apples, you can pick your own beautiful flowers — zinnias, cosmos, celosia, ageratum, rudbeckia and sunflowers — at Triple B. Check their Facebook page or call before heading out.

Pop’s FunYard opened Labor Day weekend for a rip-roaring farm experience. Purchase wristbands for $7 in advance online. You’ll find hillside tunnels and tube slides named after the Liberty and Squirrel Hill tunnels. The Rompin’ Rope Maze helps burn off energy. And everyone loves the farm animals, including pygmy goats, chickens, rabbits and a potbellied pig.

Tiny Town at Soergel Orchard will give kids a chance to burn off energy.

3. Soergel Orchards

Pick-your-own farm visits at Soergel Orchards started about 30 years ago and have become a tradition for many Pittsburgh families. The Soergel family welcomes farm visitors to their Wexford orchard for apple picking beginning with their Fall Festival on Sept. 16 and 17 and running weekends through the end of October. Visit the farm’s Facebook page for schedule updates.

Along with the fun of picking and eating the freshest fruit, kids love Soergel’s because they can explore Tiny Town and a petting zoo. A stop at Soergel’s Scoops is a welcome endpoint to a day on the farm, with a cone of Perry’s Ice Cream in flavors like Graham Canyon or Brownie Batter. Grownups will enjoy a refreshing pint of Arsenal Hard Cider. And be sure to pick up a jug of Soergel’s freshly pressed apple cider at the market for a delicious, sweet treat to be enjoyed at home.

Photo courtesy of Norman’s Orchard.

4. Norman’s Orchard

The Norman family started production at their farm in 1958, eventually specializing in the heirloom fruit for which Norman’s Orchard is known today. Even though this Frazier Township farm lacks kid-focused attractions, families flock to Norman’s for its unique specialty fruit that can’t be found in stores. The many unusual varieties of antique apples – more than two dozen — are available at varying times through October.

Pick-your-own apples will be available from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and noon-4 p.m. Sundays. Pick-your-own apples currently include Jonared, Summer Rambo and Honeycrisp. Snag some pears, too. Delicious varieties include Lincoln, Bartlett and Anjou. Also look for pick-your-own Concord grapes, a rare find among regional farms.

Call ahead at 724-224-9491 or check Norman’s Orchard’s Facebook page for daily availability. Note: Norman’s Orchard operates on a cash-only basis.

Photo by Zen Chung.

5. Shenot Farm

Shenot Farm’s apple orchard boasts 25 varieties growing across 15 acres. The apple selection includes specialties for baking and snacking, with the harvest running through early November. This Wexford farm has carried on through six generations since 1854. Watch the farm’s Instagram and Facebook pages for pick-your-own apple announcements on times and dates.

Stop by the market to shop for more than 60 different hybrid varieties of vegetables including sweet corn, plus 15 varieties of peaches, nectarines, plums and pears. And don’t skip a visit to the Fudge Room, where you can experience delirium from 50 flavors of small-batch fudge.

Photo courtesy of Half Crown Hill Orchard.

6. Half Crown Hill Orchard

Half Crown Hill Orchard in McDonald will be open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays for pick-your-own apples. The dwarf apple trees allow even little kids to reach the top fruit. Ginger Gold, Gala and Blondie are at their peak for picking now.

During your visit, try your hand at Apple Slingshot, make giant bubbles or follow clucking chickens through the orchard. Bring a basket of snacks to enjoy at the picnic tables. And look for the queen bee in the farm’s observation beehive. The farm’s Orchard Gold Honey and flavored Creamed Honey are available for sale, fresh from the farm’s hives.

Half Crown Hill’s 1,300 apple trees are planted across just under four acres. Check Facebook, Instagram or call 412-913-4981 for the most updated pick-your-own information.