Picking Your Own Apples at Willowbrook Apple Farm

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"What are you doing this weekend?" the jefe asked before I left on Friday.

"Apple picking with the chica somewhere in Oak Glen," I responded.

"Beat you to it--I went with my family two weeks ago," he replied.

"Why didn't you blog about it?" I wondered.

Silence.

Thus, this post: a brief summation of a wonderful time for anyone willing to drive about an hour to the Southland's apple-picking country.

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The 7 stands for pounds. You can pick as much as you'd like, and they charge you depending on how many bags you carry out. We picked 40 pounds--do the math!

Oak Glen is a historic village in the San Bernardino Mountains, just north of Yucaipa up a winding road that passes through about a dozen family-owned farms, most of which grow apples. The most popular is Riley's Farm, the orchard the jefe visited. We stopped at the place right next to it: the Willowbrook Apple Farm, about 2 1/2 acres of apple trees more than a century old. For about $2 a pound, you can pick to your stomach's delight and even transform your pickings into cider using a hand crank.

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You can pick by hand, but the best bet is getting one of these suckers and going for the higher fruit, which was almost untouched. Humans and the appeal of low-lying fruit, I swear...

"It's a bumper crop for apples this year," one of the workers told me. He explained that last year had no crop--a frost killed the blossoms just as they were beginning to sprout, destroying any chance of any apples. All the trees on the property shined with the apples, of the Stayman Winesap variety. It's tarter than usual, and also possesses a thicker skin, which made it perfect for the pioneers of the area to grow the varietal as it stayed longer than other, more-brittle apples.

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The Willowbrook folks make their own caramel, derived from local cows, and also sell their own honey. This was lunch...

This is a fine day trip for folks looking to entertain kiddies, or looking for a spontaneous date. And this post now ends for the meanwhile--the chica is preparing apple butter as we speak. Details to come...

Willowbrook Apple Farm, 12099 S. Oak Glen Rd., Oak Glen, (909) 797-9484; willowbrookapple.tripod.com.



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Irma Metaxas
Irma Metaxas

It's really fun picking apples. I often aim for the highest ones. It's more challenging that way. When we were young, my brother and I used to have a contest of who picked the highest apple without having to climb the tree. We were very innovative; we used broomsticks, stones, and even slingshots!

Anonymous
Anonymous

"Gustavo Arellano says: Jefe: HA!

CB: They mix milk into it, son!"---------------------

Not in real caramel they don't, Dad. Caramel, real caramel is caramelized sugar, nothing else.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Just heard about this on Good Food!

Stephanie A. Richer
Stephanie A. Richer

Gustavo, it was my family's tradition to head to upstate New York and go apple picking every Columbus Day weekend. My father and uncles used to disappear behind the barn, as that is where the farmer sold the hard cider to the city folk.

Ai, son, this is why you have to have children, so you can make this a tradition, and they can grow up to say, "Remember that time Papi fell out of the tree?" (semi-true story for me - it was my uncle and it occurred when my mother threw an apple at him so hard, it knocked him out).

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

We go there too, but usually to Riley's Apple Farm since they have Pippins. We also have to�HAVE TO�stop at Pioneer Parrish (the first one on the west side, where Potato Canyon meets back up with the main drag) for bottles of the best apple butter ever made.

Also, the line for the doughnuts at Snow-Line is not worth it, but DO get the Honeycrisp apples, the only place in Socalistan I know to get them.

DanGarion
DanGarion

Very happy to see you post about going there Gustavo. My wife and I have been making a yearly trek to Oak Glen a tradition. We haven't gone yet this year since I've been out of town so much, but I'm hoping to make the trip in November!

CB
CB

"The Willowbrook folks make their own caramel, derived from local cows,"

They get sugar from cows? nice trick...

Ted B. Kissell
Ted B. Kissell

San Bernardino County? Not far enough away. I only food-blog about other continents.

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