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Stories from the valley

Apples Await

Contributed by Jennifer Harrison

Seventeen sweets await you up in the Sacramento Valley. Sweets, as in apple varieties, the shining stars of the Apple Hill, along with all things apple: pies, crisps, donuts, and drinks are yours for the eating and drinking this harvest season. Apple Hill is indeed open. While fall feels very different in 2020, perhaps a trek to this special spot can offer a touch (and taste) of normalcy in these unprecedented times.  Here’s what you need to know before you go.

Pandemic Pivot

Masks are mandatory and large groups discouraged. Apple Hill asks that you travel with household members only, and for their part, hand sanitizer, social distancing measures and safe payment options are as prolific as the pies. Here is more information on their Covid-19 guidelines.

Nearly fifty different farms and destinations comprise Apple Hill, and each entity has different hours and strategies of operation right now. A word to the wise and apple obsessed- check those details before heading up the hill.

Inside Scoop

Go early. Or late. Confused? Early in the season, September, and early in the day, before noon, makes for fewer crowds. October tends to be the busiest month and by November, my favorite time to go, there are fewer people but ample apples.

The Harvest calendar indicates when each apple variety is in season. Jonathon, Gravenstein and Gala come on early whereas Arkansas Black and Pink Lady’s, among others, harvest much later. If you have a preference, pick your trek accordingly, and then go enjoy some fresh air and autumn tradition.