Nothing says fall like a family excursion to a local apple orchard. With many orchards to choose from, families can head a short distance from Des Moines for their choice of places to pick their own apples starting in early September through mid to late October. In addition to apple picking, many of the orchards offer petting farms, country stores, hay rides, corn mazes, and other kid-friendly activities, so leave plenty of time to take advantage of all these farms have to offer.
Take it from us and contact (or check out their social media or websites) the farms and orchards before heading out to confirm hours and amenities. Many are small, family-run operations, and crop yields and staff schedules fluctuate from week to week.
Apple Orchards near Des Moines
2402 W Main Street • Marshalltown, IA 50158 • (641) 752-8443
Apple Varieties: Red Delicious, Candy Crisp, Enterprise, Fuji, Gold Rush, Honey Gold, Jonathan, Red Jonagold, Sweet Sixteen , Blushing Golden, Cheifton, Fireside, Gala, Granny Smith, Jonafree, Macoun, Regent, Wealthy, Braeburn, Cortland, Freedom, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Jonagold, Mcintosh and September Wonder
Head to Appleberry Farm in Marshalltown for some old-fashioned fall family fun. In addition to picking apples, you can enjoy their fresh caramel apples and apple cider. And, peruse their on-farm shop that is loaded with antiques and decorative items. They also have lots of pumpkins, gourds and fall decorations that make great backdrops for family photos. They are open Monday through Saturday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm.
62785 280th Street • Nevada, IA • (515) 382-5138
Apple Varieties: HoneyCrisp, Mollies Delicious, Gala, Ruby Jon and Earligold
The u-pick apple season has already started at The Berry Patch. A popular farm destination near Nevada, it’s a local favorite for berry and apple picking. Whether you’re visiting during the week or the weekend, the friendly helpful owners and employees make it an enjoyable day for families. Several varieties of apples, as well as, raspberries, blackberries and aronia berries are currently ready to pick. Their fall farm hours are 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Saturday. They are CLOSED on Sunday. The farm furnishes containers for you to pick or they will pick for you. Be sure to watch their website for updates on what’s ready to pick and changing hours.
32835 610th Avenue • Cambridge, IA • (515) 383-4354
Apple Varieties: Zestar!, Red Free, Wolf River, Blondee, Cortland, Gala, McIntosh, Golden Supreme, Daybreak Fuji, Autumn Crisp, Jonamac, Crimson Crisp, Honeycrisp, Empire, Jonathan, Snow Sweet, Cameo, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonagold, Lysgolden, Mutsu, Candy Crisp, RJ Gold, Chieftain, Fuji, Braeburn and Granny Smith
Opening for the season on Saturday, September 8, 2018, Center Grove Orchard has grown to an 18-acre apple-growing powerhouse committed to showing families kid-powered fun focused on running, climbing, adventure and fresh air. Visitors pay a $12.95 weekend admission so kids can tire themselves out in the corn pool, ride the train, run through the corn maze, go down the humungous slide, jump on giant bouncy pillows and much more. You can also enjoy a delightful hayride to the orchard to gather your own apples or purchase them in their Country Store.
1102 244th Street • Jefferson, IA 50129 • (515) 386-8279
Apple Varieties: Lodi, Duchess, Whitney Crab, Paula Red, Earliblaze, Earligold, Zestar, Wealthy, Pippin, Macintosh, Chenanego, Gala, Sharon, Cortland, Jonathan, Jonadel, Jonagold, Empire, Snow, Red Delicious, Honey Crisp, Yellow Delicious, Grimes Golden, Haralson, Chieftain, Rome Beauty, Winesap, Turley and Arkansas Black
Deal’s, a family run apple orchard, has 45 acres of apple trees with over 25 varieties of apples. You can find their apples, cider, and hard cider in many central Iowa grocery stores. The sprawling orchard is also home to “Apple Acres”, which has fun activities for the entire family. You’ll love their jumping pillow, giant slides, human hamster wheel, corn pool, pedal tractors, goat run and more. You can also try to navigate your way through their corn maze, and enjoy free weekend hayrack rides through the orchard and pumpkin patch. Their fall hours are Monday through Saturday 8:00 am to 6:00pm and Sunday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
1348 295th Street • Montour, IA 50173 • (641) 492-6353
Apple Varieties: Lodi (Harvest Apple), Summer Treat, Pristine, Wealthy, Akane, Gala, Macintosh, Jon Grimes, Ozark Gold, Honey Crisp, Jonathon, Jonagold, Cortland, Chieftain, Jon-Del, Red Delicious, Mitsu, Connell Red, Haralson, Wine Sap and Golden Delicious
This family-owned and -operated business has grown since its beginning almost 60 years ago. They open for the season on September 10, 2018; weekdays 1:00 to 6:00 pm and weekends 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. Special dates to mark on your calendar are their “Annual Apple Picks” on September 15-16 and 22-23, 2018. On these weekends, they will have apple cider, apple pies, caramel apples, squash, pumpkins, pumpkin rides, raspberries, and many varieties of their apples ready for picking. You’ll also want to mark October 8, 2018 on your calendar when they host their Cider Day. The orchard invites customers, friends and family to harvest apples with them. The apples are collected in wagons and made into fresh apple cider while you watch!
U-Pick Orchard: 13140 NW 102nd Avenue • Granger, IA 50109
Store: 9875 Meredith Drive • Urbandale, IA • (515) 276-0852
Apple Varieties: HoneyCrisp, Gala, McIntosh, Jonathan, Empire, Cortland, Fuji, Red and Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Pink Lady, and Braeburn
If you’re looking to fill your fall basket with more than just apples, then Iowa Orchard’s two locations should make your itinerary. They offer u-pick apples at their Granger location just off of Highway 141, September through mid-October. They are open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm seven days a week during apple season. They do not charge an admission fee, but they do have a 1/2 peck minimum for everyone, except for kids in a stroller. They no longer offer pick-your-own apples in Urbandale because of the size and age of the trees. However, you can purchase apples at the store and they also offer up an array of homemade pies, fresh apple cider, decorative pumpkins, gourds and more. You can also let the kids play in their Family Fun Zone.
57495 230 Trail • Lacona, IA • (641) 862-3841
Apple Varieties: Jonathan, Fuji, Gala, Red and Golden Delicious
Schneider Orchard is all set-up and ready for you to come pick apples. They’re also stocked with pre-picked apples, if you’re not inclined to pick-your-own. You’ll also find a country store and will want to save room for something sweet, the orchard serves fresh-baked apple crisp, caramel apples, caramel apple cheesecake, apple cookie on a stick and lots of other goodies. And on October 7, 2018 they will be participating in Farm Crawl with six other independently owned family farm operations, all within an easy drive of each other in south-central Iowa.
12832 Royal Orchard Drive • Story City, IA 50248 • (515) 733-4474
Apple Varieties: Honeycrisp, Fuji, Braeburn, Gala, Jonagold, Jonadel, Jonathan, Cortland, and Zestar
Storybook Orchard in Story City offers a wide selection of naturally grown fruits and veggies available for U-pick as well as pre-picked. Open mid-July through mid-December, you’ll find lots of tree fruits produced in season, including peaches, plums, cherries, and pears. In addition, they have over 60 different kinds of apples. They’re already picking apples for the season and are open daily 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
5987 NE 88th Street • Altoona, IA 50009 • (515) 957-1303
Apple Varieties: Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, and Other Varieties
Upstream Gardens and Orchard is a working farm that offers pick-your-own apples, berries and other produce in Altoona. They also have honey from their own hives for sale. Watch their website to know when their Honey Crisps and Granny Smiths will be ready to pick. Their hours are 9:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday through Sunday, but that will change as the season progresses. They do not charge admission, you just pay for what you pick.
2773 290th Street • Orient, IA • (641) 337-5019
Apple Varieties: Pristine, Enterprise, Williams Pride, Liberty, Brown Snout, Dabinett, Harrison, Harry Masters Jersey, Kingston Black, Yarlington Mills and more
The Country Life Center in Orient is the birthplace farm of Henry A. Wallace. While this is NOT a u-pick orchard, you can purchase apples during the growing season, in the Market. With over 120 apple trees, you’ll surely find one kind of apple that you like. While there you’ll want to walk around the farm and enjoy the history and landscape that helped shape the life of one of Iowa’s most important native sons. You’ll also want to call ahead and make a reservation to dine at the Gathering Table Restaurant, where their menus are built around what is available to harvest from the gardens. Lunches and dinners are served Fridays in the Gathering Barn from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and 5:30 to 8:00 pm from April through December.
33130 Panther Creek Road • Adel, IA • (515) 321-1847
Apple Varieties: Pristine, Williams Pride, Redfree, Zestar, Priscilla, Freedom, Spartan, Snowsweet, Liberty, Jonafree, Enterprise and GoldRush
This family-owned and -operated business includes four acres of organic apple trees, one acre of peach trees, three acres of pumpkins, one acre of winter squash and ornamental gourds. In addition to the solid selection of produce, the Orchard draws families in with a one- acre corn maze, wagon rides, hens and goats. You’ll also want to be sure to visit their on-farm store where you can find all kinds of fresh, handmade foods such as apple cider donuts, caramel apples, Queens apple dessert, sliced apple pie and more. They also host Apple & Pumpkin Fest, which starts on September 22 and is held on WEEKENDS until October 21, 2018. September/October Hours are Fridays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (Store only); Saturdays 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (6:00 pm on Festival weekends); Sundays 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm (6pm on Festival weekends).
If you aren’t up for the long drive or have limited apple picking opportunities, another way to celebrate the harvest is to visit a local Farmers’ Market. Several remain open throughout September and October.
If you know of an orchard to add to the list, list it in the Comments below or email email@example.com.
What’s your family’s favorite fall apple picking spot near Des Moines? Let us know!