Growing up in the foothills east of Sacramento, I spent a lot of time with my family exploring the local community of Apple Hill which stretches from Placerville to Camino off of Highway 50. Early fall is the start of apple harvest season and is one of my favorite times of the year.
I love the scent of the fall air and the colors that pop off the trees as we finally leave the hot summer behind. From September through November, it doesn’t get any better, or more delicious, than yummy apple treats, hand-made goods by local artisans and fresh fruit. And some of the best face painting I’ve ever seen.
There are more than 50 apple orchards and destinations in Apple Hill, offering everything from homemade apple pies, jams and sweets to fresh fruit off the tree, pumpkin picking and apple wine! Picking your own fruit – apples, pears, peaches, etc. – is fun and lots of families enjoy walking the orchards, looking for the perfect apple or pear. If you’d rather have someone else pick your fruit, browse through the enormous bins of fruit inside most bake shops to find what you’re looking for. And don’t forget to grab fresh jams, apple butter and the most amazing homemade pies you’ve ever had.
I never leave Apple Hill without a half-dozen freshly baked apple cider donuts which get devoured within minutes. They are worth the half-hour wait in line. With three small children, I like to visit orchards that have kid friendly activities like fishing and face painting at High Hill Ranch, horse rides at Abels Acres or pumpkin picking at Cardanini’s Pumpkin Patch. Not a visit goes by without at least one horse ride, cups of fresh apple juice and a fully painted face!