Avoid Apple Orchards to Your Liking If Your Goal Is to Save Money
Every season has its Instagram-worthy moments, but some of the most coveted shots of the year can only be taken in the fall, the day when the leaves are in full swing and the temperature has dropped so much that it could be considered “sweater weather.” And of all the fall activities, apple picking provides the perfect social media documenting experience: sweeping garden landscapes, action shots, close-ups of glistening apples, and more.
Going through the hassle of finding yourself somewhere with an orchard, waiting in long lines, and trying to take pictures without all the other people in the background is one thing if you’re there to experience it all. But if you want to get cheap apples straight from the source, you might want to rethink your weekend plans. Here’s what you need to know.
How to save on local apples this fall
Because people pick apples for a variety of reasons, it’s helpful to start by thinking about what you want out of the day. If you want your “fall moment” with hot cider, hay bales, cider doughnuts, corn mazes – you know, jobs – then by all means, go for it.
But if your goal is to save money on buying local produce, you’re probably better off skipping full-service orchards , because along with apples, you pay for them too (even if you don’t take advantage of them).
Find a no-frills garden
Instead, look for an orchard without a carnival vibe where the fact that you’re doing the work of harvesting will end up saving (rather than wasting) your money. If there is no farm nearby, off road roadside farms or farmers’ markets may be a more affordable option. And, of course, there is always a local grocery store.
Like many other purchases, this is also a matter of comparing purchases. Pick an amount—for example, five pounds, which is about half a pood—and see how much it would cost in a garden compared to a grocery store, farmers’ market, etc. to find the best deal.
Find a marriage
Or, if you don’t care what the apples look like (if you use them for baking or making applesauce, for example), you can call the orchard to see if they have a “scratches and dents” section. They are filled with bad apples that other customers have rejected because they weren’t pretty enough, and are usually offered at significant discounts.
If you want to know more about the economics of picking apples, this article offers a much more detailed explanation.