Starting just after Labor Day weekend and continuing through the fall, orchards in Central Iowa offer families the chance to pick their own apples. Many apple picking orchards also host cool kids’ attractions including: hayrides, petting zoos with barnyard animals, corn mazes and more. Some even sell home-baked treats like apple cider donuts!
Apple picking season typically kicks off in early September and lingers into late October, depending on the orchard. Be sure to call ahead or check social media sites to confirm hours, attractions, availability, and prices, as weather and fruit conditions can force frequent changes.
Here’s the best apple picking 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
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; Wednesday 9:00 to 3:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm.
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, apple cider and apple slushies. 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.
62785 280th Street • Nevada, IA • (515) 382-5138
Apple Varieties: Williams Pride, HoneyCrisp, Mollies Delicious, Red Free, Gala, Ruby Jon and Earligold
Hours: Monday through Saturday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm; CLOSED on Sunday.
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 elderberries are currently ready to pick. 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
Hours: Barnyard – Daily 9:00 am to 7:00 pm (September 7 – October 31, 2019); Country Store: Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Opening for the season on Saturday, September 7, 2019, 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 $15.95 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
Hours: Monday through Saturday 8:00 am to 6:00pm and Sunday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Deal’s is a family run apple orchard with 45 acres of apple trees and 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.
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
Hours: Weekdays 1:00 to 6:00 pm and weekends 7:00 am to 6:00 pm during apple season.
This family-owned and -operated business has grown since its beginning almost 60 years ago. Special dates to mark on your calendar are their “Annual Apple Picks”. 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 “Cider Day” on your calendar. 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
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 5:00 pm during apple season.
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 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.
57495 230 Trail • Lacona, IA • (641) 862-3841
Apple Varieties: Jonathan, Fuji, Gala, Red and Golden Delicious
Hours: Daily 8:00 am to 7:00 pm during apple season.
Watch Schneider Orchard’s website for their opening date. The orchard offers pre-picked apples and pick-your-own apples. 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.
5987 NE 88th Street • Altoona, IA 50009 • (515) 957-1303
Apple Varieties: Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, and Other Varieties
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, hours can change as the season progresses.
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. 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
Hours: Market Center – Friday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
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 Center. 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.
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
Hours: September/October – 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). Apple & Pumpkin Fest starts on September 21 and is held on WEEKENDS until October 20, 2019.
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.
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.
Let us know if we missed your favorite apple orchard near Des Moines!