The Apple of my Eye - 7 Tips for Apple Picking with a Toddler
We recently found a random morning where we had nothing planned and the weather was looking reasonable to spend a day outdoors. Lately it’s been in the high eighties and so the idea of some cooler weather had us itching to spend some time enjoying some fresh air.
Drew and I both have been apple picking as kids, and it must’ve had an impact on us because we were both so eager to take Evelyn apple picking. Everything fell into place perfectly. We had a free morning, on a cool day, in the fall, for some pickin’.
It was really hard to find out which apple farm to visit. There are a ton of farms, all with different amenities in addition to apple picking. There was also some drama surrounding some of the apple farms last year and after we double checked to make sure we weren’t going to any farms involved, we decided on Los Rios Rancho and are so grateful we did! They had several different types of apples to pick, handy guides located throughout their huge orchards, you could pick other types of fruits and even pumpkins. Across the street they had a grocery store, bakery, restaurant, petting zoo, horse rides, and a big park. Easily could fill up an entire day.
Having now been apple picking with a toddler, here are a few of my top tips if you are visiting an apple orchard.
1. Try and go on a cool day. We were able to spend hours in the orchards because the weather was so perfect. It was crisp and cool like a real fall day which is very hard to come by in Southern California. I am so grateful we waited for this weather, a week prior it had almost reached 100 degrees and I can’t imagine that being fun at all. Hiking through the orchards, picking apples, and chasing a toddler was exhausting and it was nice to at least have the cooler temperatures to balance it all out a bit. These apple trees don’t offer shade, so if it is sunny, be prepared. Lots of sunscreen, hats, and water!
2. Don’t wear your good shoes. I was super naive in thinking how “farm” like things were going to be. It was a real functioning apple orchard and my Tieks (albeit comfy) and Evelyn’s favorite Old Soles shoes took a massive beating. Wear your crummy shoes, jeans you aren’t attached too, and if you have a toddler, a lot of wet wipes. Evelyn tripped a lot on weeds, apples that had fallen, and hoses. She got filthy. Sap from the trees made her sticky. When I would pick her up, her muddy shoes would rub on my jeans and jacket and so I ended up filthy as well. So wear the grubby clothes.
3. Bring a change of shoes! On top of bringing wet wipes to wipe hands and faces, bring a pair of shoes for the car home. Regardless of the weather, there is a lot of dirt. For us, with the fog and rain, it was muddy. But even on a sunny day, your are going to end up dusty. To avoid tracking too much into the car, I wish I would have brought everyone an extra pair of shoes.
4. Get there early! Especially if the weather is cooler. I didn’t know what to expect so we got there very early since Evelyn still really needs her midday nap. So we got there around 9:15 AM when the orchard opened up at 9 AM. When we got there, we might have been the 15th family to arrive. We left around 11 AM and by then there were probably over 80 families. It was packed and parking was insane. So if you go during summer, get there early when weather is cooler and sun is lower. And if it is a cool day, go early because everyone and their mother is going to be there.
5. Make bathroom arrangements for littles! So we are still sort of potty training. She’s doing great but I’m not ready to trust her in an portable toilet. These are functional farms so most of them don’t have regular bathrooms to use. I brought Evelyn her portable potty and home girl just used it in the back of my hatchback. It’s not ideal but I felt much better about it and we made it through the whole day with no accidents.
6. Bring snacks! You are not allowed to eat apples while in the orchard, although Evelyn broke that rule when I wasn’t looking for .2 seconds. She had a blast and it wore her out and she got a really big appetite. We had some snacks luckily but if we didn’t have those, she would’ve gotten hangry. A tired and hangry toddler is the worst combo.
7. Bring your camera! I had no idea what to expect from this adventure. In my head, I kinda thought Evelyn would get tired of the whole thing rather quickly which is why we went to someplace that had other offerings than just picking apples. However, she loved picking apples and running through the orchards. I thought we may get 20 minutes from her and we did almost 2 hours! She was having such fun, and she was so obliging with all the pictures I was taking of her. We all had the best time being outside and enjoying each other’s company.
I love doing things like this as a family. At the end of the day, it’s just the three of us. We are our whole world and I love that we can do these adventures together and I pray that they bring us all closer.
Location: Los Rios Rancho - Oak Glen, California
Evelyn’s Jacket: Old Navy
Evelyn’s Bow: Little Poppy Co.
Evelyn’s Jeans: Cat and Jack
Evelyn’s Shoes: Old Sole Shoes