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Friday
Sep232011

The Go West Guide to Northern Illinois Apple Orchards

It’s hard to say goodbye to summer, but we can console ourselves with thoughts of all the wonderful experiences that autumn brings with it: Hayrack rides, fall colors, pumpkin carving and donning your favorite wool sweater. 

Photo by Brendan Riley on Flickr.In that spirit, we have a guide to northern Illinois orchards where you can pick your own apples, and often pumpkins, pears or raspberries, too.

Some of these orchards are the “no frills” type, where the focus is just on leaving with a peck full of juicy, delicious apples. Others offer bakeries, restaurants, petting zoos, train rides, corn mazes, “moon jumps,” and all sorts of other amusements. At some, you’ll only pay for the apples you pick. At others, there is an admission and/or parking charge that might vary whether you visit on a weekend or a weekday. The amusement extras almost always cost, well, extra.

So I urge you, before making the drive, to spend a few minutes on your chosen orchard’s website to make sure it offers the type of experience you want your family to have. It’s also wise to call ahead to doublecheck the hours and availability of apple varieties and ask about any policies on strollers, wagons and pets that might apply to you. Also please note that many of these orchards are cash-only, especially for their U-Pick operations.

DeKalb County

* Honey Hill Orchards: 11747 Waterman Road, Waterman. 815-264-3337. 

  • Hours: Starting Sept. 9, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through Oct. 31. 
  • Features: A snack shop (pies and donuts! plus lunch on the weekends), farm petting zoo, straw pyramid and weekend wagon rides to the orchard, weather permitting. Only cash or check accepted for the U-Pick orchard.
  • Website: http://www.honeyhillorchards.com/

* Jonamac Orchard: 19412 Shabbona Rd, Malta. 815-825-2158 

  • Hours: Store open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week through Oct. 31 and then 9 a.m .to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sunday, Nov. 23. Apple picking is available seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., subject to availability. Some of the other features are only open on weekends and certain weekdays; check the website for details.
  • Features: The Orchard Store and Bakery, a corn maze and barn yard activity area, an “apple train,” and a U-Pick orchard. Starting Sept. 24, you can catch a wagon ride to the pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkin. There are admission fees charged for features such as the corn maze, train and barn yard.
  • Website: http://www.jonamacorchard.com/ 

Kane County  

* Kuipers Family Farm: 1N318 Watson Road, Maple Park.  815-827-5200. Apple info line: 815-827-5200 Ext. 1.  

  • Hours: Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 am. to 6 p.m. on Sunday through October.
  • Features: Freshly picked apples are available for sale in the Orchard Shop. Pick your own apples are only available on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission to orchard is $8.50 per person and includes a hayrides and 1/4 peck bag of apples. Additional peck bags are $15 each and not available for all varieties. Kuipers also offers a corn maze, pumpkin farm, tractor tire mountain, train, pony rides and jumping pillow. Note there is an extra charge for rides, games and admission to the pumpkin farm. Check the website for details. 
  • Website: http://www.kuipersfamilyfarm.com/index.html 

Lake County

* Heinz Orchard: 1050 Crest Road, Green Oaks. 847-770-3449

  • Hours: Fridays and Saturdays, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The orchard will also be open on Columbus Day.
  • Features: This orchard specializes in “pure apple picking fun,” as it puts it on the website. No corn mazes, hayrides, food or drink. It only accepts cash. There is no parking fee or admission fee. 
  • Website: http://www.heinzorchard.com/ 

McHenry County

 * All Seasons Orchard: 14510 IL Route 176, Woodstock. 815-338-5637.

  • Hours: Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day in September and October and open until 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Open weekdays in November 10 a.m. to 3 p.m and weekends in November 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting. 
  • Features: A U-Pick orchard with 12 different varieties that ripen at different points during the season, a corn maze, pumpkin patch, cow train, apple cannon, country market and country kitchen, petting zoo, hay heap, pony rides, moon bouncer, corn crib dip, obstacle course, jumping pillow and sand box,  On weekdays, admission is $5 per person for ages 3 and up. On weekends and holidays, admission is $8 per person ages 3 and up. Many of the activities are included in the price of admission. Apple picking is $10 and includes a 1/2 peck bag and wagon ride.
  • Website: http://www.allseasonsorchard.com/new/orchard.php

 * Homestead Orchard: 11802 Charles Road, Woodstock. 815-338-7443.

  • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.
  • Features: The pick your own orchard features 23 varieties that ripen at different points during the season. In the store you can buy honey from the orchard’s own bee hives and dried flowers. There is no parking fee or admission fee. Only cash or check are accepted.
  • Website: http://www.homesteadorchard.net/

* More Than Delicious Orchard: 9905 Thompson Road, Woodstock. 815-338-2309

  • Hours: Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Features: U-Pick apples and pears. Pecks cost $15, half-bushels $26. Only cash or checks accepted. 
  • Website: http://morethandelicious.com/

* Pine Apple Acres: 41W651 Powers Road, Huntley 847-669-3251.

  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Closed on Mondays. 
  • Features: Apple picking lasts until supplies are gone. (In 2009, apple picking ended Oct. 9.) There is a $5 entrance fee for all vehicles; if the total apple purchase exceeds $37.50, a $5 credit will be given. Payment is only accepted by cash or check.
  • Website: http://www.pineapple-acres.com/

* Prairie Sky Orchard: 4914 North Union, Union. 815-923-4834.

  • Hours: Open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 30.
  • Features: U-Pick apples from five varieties, pick your own pumpkins, fall raspberries and gourmet foods, including apple cider donuts and pies on weekends. Free admission and free parking. 
  • Website: http://www.prairieskyorchard.com/

* Royal Oak Farm Orchard: 15908 Hebron Rd, Harvard. 815-648-4141.

  • Hours: 9:30 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 31. From Nov. 1 through Nov. 15, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed on Sundays.
  • Features: A U-Pick orchard, apple barn, country store, country kitchen restaurant, bakery and entertainment area featuring a petting zoo. The orchard also grows late summer and fall raspberries, pumpkins, gourds and squash. The orchard has no admission fee on weekdays and offers free parking. On Saturdays and holidays from Labor Day through October, admission is $3 per vehicle.
  • Website: http://www.royaloakfarmorchard.com/index.htm

* Woodstock Country Orchard: 17015 Garden Valley Road, Woodstock. 815-923-4359.

  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • Features: U-Pick apples at $6 for a half-peck and $12 for a full peck. Prepicked apples, raspberries and local honey, too. This looks to be a “no-frills” orchard where the emphasis is on the apples.
  • Website: http://www.woodstockcountryorchard.com/index.html

Will County

* Apples on Oak: The intersection of W. Oak Avenue and Gougar Road, Lockport. 815-726-0386. 

  • Hours: Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closing for the season on Sept. 25, saying nearly all of its apples are gone already.
  • Features: This small U-Pick orchard offers a wide variety of apples, from the newest on the market to antique varieties. It offers free parking and free admission.
  • Website: http://www.applesonoak.com/applesonoak.html 

Winnebago County

* Valley Orchard: 811 E. State St., Cherry Valley. 815-332-9696. 

  • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through mid-November.
  • Features: A U-Pick Orchard on 35 acres that offers 24 varieties of apples, raspberries (both summer and fall), blueberries and blackberries. There is also a store and a bakery on the grounds where you can purchase apple cider donuts, cider, apple pie, fudge, taffy apples and apple cinnamon bread. 
  • Website: http://thevalleyorchard.com/

 * Curran's Orchard: 6385 Kilburn Ave., Rockford. 815-963-78478.

  • Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until the first weekend in December.
  • Features: Pick your own apples, raspberries and pumpkins; apple donuts; cider, apple pie; honey; mplae syrup; craft items; hay wagon rides; farm animal corral; straw bale mini-maze; climbing bales; apple launcher and more.
  • Website: http://www.curransorchard.com/

* Edwards Apple Orchard West, 8218 Cemetery Road in Winnebago. 815-963-2261. 

  • Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
  • Features: Apples, doughnuts, farm animal viewing, pony rides, gift shop. 
  • Website:  I can't find a website for this orchard, so this info was gathered from the site pickyourown.org and the Rockford Register Star.

Boone County 

* Edwards Apple Orchard, 7061 Centerville Road, Poplar Grove. 815-765-2234.

  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily during September through November. 
  • Features: Apples, rasberries, pumpkins, horse-drawn hayrides, hay maze, petting zoo, gift shop, pony rides.
  • Website: I can't find a website for this orchard, so this info was gathered from the site pickyourown.org and the Rockford Register Star

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