Ohio Orchards ready to welcome guests for apple picking

This is good news for apple lovers and apple growers. This year’s harvest should be abundant.

Despite a rocky start with an early frost, the growing season has been near perfect, Ohio Farm Bureau spokesman Ty Higgins said.

“All factors were ideal,” he said. “There was a perfect amount of heat and adequate amounts of rain throughout the growing season.”

The successful yield sets up a perfect season for apple picking in the region.

Many orchards prepare for the start of the season when guests are allowed to invade their fruit farms and pick their own apples.

Apple picking is in full swing at Apple Hill Orchards.

Apple picking grew in popularity last year

Last year, when widespread restrictions were imposed on everything from attending sporting events to festivals and concerts, Gov. Mike DeWine suggested families in Ohio go apple picking.

This advice has changed the lives of orchard owners. Russell Joudrey, who owns and operates Apple Hill Orchards in Mansfield and Fredericktown, said his farm and his counterparts have seen a rush of people eager to get out and have some family fun.

“It was overwhelming and we are expected to have a good year this year,” he said.

Apple Hill Orchards is primed for the onslaught of visitors.

Outdoor venues are ideal for social distancing, he said.

“The orchards are big and you can spread out. I don’t mean it’s ideal, but it’s better to sit side by side during a football game,” Joudrey said. “It fits the family bill and the security bill.”

“They literally see the fruits of their labor.”

Joudrey said: “We had a big harvest last year and we have a bit smaller harvest, but we have pretty much everything, mainly a full harvest until the beginning of November. We have apples that ripen until November.

At Springhill Fruit Farm, 5646 Ganges Five Points Road, north of Mansfield, Jeff Burrer, who runs the orchard with his wife Laura Burrer, said: “It’s been a pretty big apple crop this year. Some strains are a little light, like Honeycrisp, but overall it’s a good harvest.”

On Friday, Burrer said the peach harvest was good and the family was already making cider.

At Kuner’s Fruit Farm in Green, apple season is just beginning to pick up with early apple varieties hitting market shelves. The orchard picking season is the last two weeks of September and the first week of October.

“We have a good harvest, around 26 varieties that cover the whole season,” said owner Rose Kuner.

Early frost caused damage to early varieties, she said, but later varieties don’t show the damage.

“It’s just a matter of skin,” Kuner said. “They’re not as pretty, but they still taste good.”

Higgins said when the apples bloom, they are at their weakest point and early frost can cause damage.

“We saw it last year too,” he said. “It’s something that has bothered the apple growers and (some apples) will have a frost mark on them, but overall they got through it and had one hell of a growing season.” They literally see the fruits of their labor.

“The humidity was perfect”

Moreland Fruit Farm in Wooster opened its pick-your-own season early with its Honeycrisp harvest. Apple lovers might catch their own Honeycrisps this past weekend and this weekend. The rest of the pick-your-own season starts from September 17 to October.

“We had a very good apple crop,” said Moreland owner Emanuel Miller. “We just had great weather. The humidity was perfect. We have about 12 different varieties, from Honeycrisp to Portland to Gala.”

Moreland has been around since 1920, but Miller and his wife, Barb, and their 14 children took over the farm four years ago. They plan to start making their unpasteurized apple cider this week and will have the sweet nectar for sale in the market until the end of the year.

The region’s producers are delighted with the season.

“People are excited to get and do things, especially with the 2020 and early 2021 challenges,” Higgins said. “They are excited about fall and all that comes with these activities on the farm.”

Rose Kuner, owner of Kuner's Fruit Farm in Green, walks through her Golden Delicious orchard on the farm.

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Twitter: @LWhitmir

A cluster of apples waiting to finish ripening on the tree before being harvested.

Richland County

  • Apple Hill Orchards, 1175 Lexington-Ontario Road, Mansfield, 419-709-0408; and 16908-16970 Upper Fredericktown Amity Road, Fredericktown, 740-694-7688. U-pick apples until early November at either location during business hours. Visit www.applehillorchards.com for hours.
  • Springhill Fruit Farm, 5646 Ganges Five Points Road, 419-896-2866.

Northeast Ohio Apple Orchards

Here is an overview of apple orchards located throughout northeast Ohio:

Ashland County

  • Scenic Ridge Fruit Farm, 2031 State Route 89, Jeromesville; 419-368-3353 or https://baumanorchards.com/locations/scenic-ridge. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. U-pick available; farm supplies containers and dwarf apple trees that are easy to reach.
  • Springhill Fruit Farm, 5646 Ganges-Five Points Road, Shiloh; 419-896-2866 or http://springhill-fruit-farm.com. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The apples are all picked, washed, sorted and bagged for you in the store.

Carroll County

  • Manfull Orchards, 8146 Kensington Road, Augusta; 330-627-4861, www.manfullorchards.com, email [email protected] or 330-895-4861. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. No apple picking, but the Farm Market offers apples and other produce, baked goods, meat, and country gifts.

Columbiana County

  • Huffman Fruit Farm, 13075 Lisbon Road, Salem; 330-533-5700. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday all year round, closed on Sundays. Apple picking available starting August 27: Gala, Ozark Gold, JonaMac, $25 a bushel. Call for other varieties, prices and availability dates.
  • Dillon Fruit Farm, 10841 Wayne Bridge Road, Lisbon, 330-424-5169, www.dillonfruitfarm.com. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Honeycrisp, Gala, Golden Supreme, Gingergold, Mollies Delicious and PaulaRed apples have been available on the market since September 1.

Mahoning County

  • Haus Orchard & Cider Mill, 6742 West Calla Road, Canfield, 330-533-5305. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, open Sunday after Labor Day. No U-pick apples this year, but several varieties for sale on the market.
  • Stahl Farmers Market, 10780 North Johnson Road, North Benton, 330-584-2077. http://stahlsfarmmarket.com. U-pick apples 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays: Sept. 4-5 – McIntosh, gala; September 11-12 – Cortland, Jonathan; September 18-19 – Jonathan, Jonagold, Red Delicious; September 25-26 – Golden Delicious, Mutsu; October 2-3 – Melrose, IdaRed; October 9-10 – Fuji, Pickers Choice. $12 a half bushel. Bags provided.
  • White House Fruit Farm, 9249 State Route 62, Canfield. 330-533-4161. www.whitehousefruitfarm.com. The apples are picked and available on the farm market.

Medina County

  • Geig’s Orchard, 8468 Wooster Pike, Seville; 330-769-3276, www.geigsorchard.com. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Apple picking will take place the first two weekends of October. Some varieties are now available on the agricultural market.
  • Hillside Orchard, 2397 Center Road, Hinckley; 330-225-4748, https://hillsidefarmfresh.com, email [email protected] Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. U-pick apples in October. U-pick apples October 2 and 3 and October 9 and 10 only. Jonathan, Empire, Golden Delicious and Melrose apples available.
  • Pick-n-Save Orchard, 1222 Ledge Road, Medina; 330-239-1480, http://picnsaveorchard.com. A one-hour reservation is required for apple picking. Buy your tickets at: http://pick-n-save-orchard.ticketleap.com. No entry to farm picking areas without a pre-purchased reservation/bag/box for each person. (ages 2 and under free) Apple Bags are free; outdoor containers are prohibited. No strollers, personal carts, purses or backpacks are permitted in the growing/picking areas.
  • Richardson Farms, 6984 Lafayette Road, Medina; 330-722-4029, https://richardson-farms.com. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. U-pick apple picking begins the weekend of September 11 and lasts until the apples run out; the picking season can last up to four to five weeks or as little as two weeks. A farmer’s market is on site.

Portage County

  • Monroe’s Orchard & Farm Market, 6313 Pioneer Trail, Hiram; 330-569-7464, https://monroesorchard.com. U-pick apples available from late September to mid-October. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
  • Beckwith Orchards, 1617 Lake Rockwell Road, Kent; 330-673-6433, www.beckwithorchards.com. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Does not offer pick-your-own. Apples are picked, washed, sorted and bagged for customers in the gift shop.

Stark County

  • Arrowhead Orchard, 11724 Lisbon St. SE, Paris; 330-614-2947, www.ArrowheadOrchard.com. Fall family fun activities and pick your own apples, sunflowers and pumpkins. You pick apples on four-day weekends until October 25 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Sunny Slope, 14960 Millersburg Road, Tuscarawas Township; 330-833-9415, https://sunnyslopeapples.com. No U-pick, but offer more than 30 varieties of apples until October. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Summit County

  • Kuner’s Fruit Farm, 5424 S. Arlington Road, Green; 330-896-1391. U-pick apples the last two weeks of September and the first week of October. Apples are now available in the market.

Tuscarawas County

  • Hillcrest Orchard, 2474 Walnut St, Walnut Creek; 330-893-9906, www.hillcrestfunfarm.com. U-pick from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday until October 23. Close on Sunday.

Wayne County

  • Moreland Fruit Farms, 1558 W. Moreland Road, Wooster; 330-264-8735, www.morelandfruitfarm.com. U-pick starts September 17 every Friday and Saturday until October. The orchard also offers unpasteurized cider, U-pick pumpkins and a corn maze.
  • Bauman Orchards Farm Market at 161 Rittman Ave., Rittman, 330-925-6861, and Scenic Ridge, 2031 State Route 89, Jeromesville, 419-368-3353, will begin your picking season September 18 through October 9. https://baumanorchards.com. Apples are also available at Corner Market, 10370 Akron Road, Rittman. 330-855-1029.
  • Rittman Orchards & Farm Market, 13548 Mount Eaton Road N, Doylestown 330-925-4125. The orchard is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays for the picking of crunchy fall and gala apples. https://rittmanorchards.com.

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