There is nothing sweeter than picking and eating your own fresh fruit. While all of the berries may have been plucked off of the bushes, that doesn’t mean that U-pick season has to end. It just means that apple picking season is finally upon us in McHenry County.
Luckily for us, we have no shortage of orchards in the area, so you can afford to be picky about which one you go to. Whether you are looking for an orchard with enough entertainment to spend the day at, or just a small, family-run orchard to spend an hour picking apples at, our list will have the perfect one for you.
As always, we recommend that you call ahead to check picking conditions BEFORE you gather up the kids and head out.
U-Pick Apples in McHenry County
In addition to over 10,000 apple trees this orchard has a large corn maze, a 15-acre pumpkin patch, pig races, a magic show, a cow train, a jumping pillow, a petting zoo, a goat bridge, and more. 2016 pricing has not yet been posted, however it is an admission-based orchard. Anyone over the age of two has to pay admission to enter the orchard. Admission includes a wagon ride to the orchard and the bag of apples you will be picking. Barnyard admission can also be purchased for an additional cost. Read Little Lake County’s review to find out more.
Opening in late July, Homestead Orchard is one of the earliest opening orchards in the area. They have over 23 different kind of apples on their small, family-run orchard. The also sell honey from beehives on site. Since this is a small, family-run business they accept cash or check only. However, there is always free parking and free admission.
Open Saturdays through Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
1517 N. Route 47, Woodstock | 815-687-8208
Opening day still to be determined, check Facebook at end of August.
Meadowmoor Orchard is a relatively new orchard. It was started in 2004 as a project by retiring teachers that has grown into a family orchard. The family now offers seven varieties of apples and also dabbles in cherries, peaches, pears and pumpkins. This is a no-frills orchard for pure apple picking fun. There is no admission fee, no parking fees and no minimum purchse required. 2016 pricing has not yet been posted. However, 2015 pricing was $2.50 per poind for Honeycrisp apples and $1.50 per pound for all other fruits and varieties. They accept cash and checks only, so come prepared.
More than Delicious Orchard9905 Thompson Rd., Woodstock | 815-575-9650
Open on Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Opening day still to be determined, check website at end of August.
This is a family-run, no-frills farm with over 400 trees featuring 80 varieties of apples and pears. A bushel of apples (42 pounds) is $60, a half-bushel (21 pounds) is $32, and a peck (10 pounds) is $17. There is no parking fee or admission charge, and cash, checks, and credit cards are accepted. Wagons and strollers are allowed and recommended to help carry apples and transport small children.
This is a small, family-run business celebrating over 15 years of apple picking fun. While no admission or parking is charged, there is a minimum purchase amount. Groups of one to four people must pick a minimum of one peck ($17). Groups of five to eight people must pick at least two pecks of apples. Everyone three years and older must pick at least a quarter peck of apples ($8). Cash, checks, and credit cards are all accepted at Prairie Sky Orchard.
Royal Oak Farm Orchard
15908 Hebron Rd., Harvard | 815-648-4141
Open Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9:30 a.m.- 7:00 p.m., and Sundays from 11:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Anticipated opening day is August 19, but check Facebook ahead of time to be sure.
Royal Oak Farm is my family’s favorite. We absolutely fell in love with it when we went last year, and plan to return again every year. They have many varieties of U-pick apples, a play area with the cutest wooden buildings to climb on, a free petting zoo, orchard tours, and a train ride. After you are hungry from picking apples all afternoon, have lunch in the country restaurant. I highly recommend their apple cinnamon donuts as well.
Admission and parking are free, and for activities you only pay for what you want to do. We got away with just paying for apples last year, but spent the entire day at the orchard. Everyone going into the orchard age five and older needs to purchase a bag. Adults pay $12 per person for a half-peck bag, children ages hrough sixteen pay only $6 per person for a quarter-peck bag, and children under five years old are free, but do not get their own bag. Read our review of Royal Oak Farm Orchard.
Woodstock County Orchard
17015 Garden Valley Rd., Woodstock | 815-923-4359
Hours: Wednesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Opening day still to be determined, check the website at the end of August.
This orchard features twelve varieties of apples, red raspberries, and freshly made honey. Be sure to go on the weekend and try one of their homemade apple cider donuts. U-pick apples are sold for $10 a peck, and they accept cash or check only as payment.
Where is your favorite place to pick apples?