It may come as a shock to you given my obsession with all things autumn, but I have never been apple picking before this year. Last weekend I had the opportunity to go with a couple of girlfriends and we happened to get the the most gorgeous weather and had the absolute best time!
We arrived at The Farm at Swan’s Trail by their opening time (10am) on a Sunday and the parking lot was already PACKED! I think this was due to the fact that it was during the weekend and the previous day had been rainy so everyone was taking advantage of the beautiful weather! This being said, the property is HUGE and there are so many things to do that I never felt cramped or crowed (read: unsafe regarding COVID-19). All other guests were following social distancing guidelines while walking around / in lines as well as wearing masks. I was very impressed with all of the precautions that the farm had taken… lots of barriers set up for cashiers, frequent sanitizing of communal surfaces, and procedural systems put in place for smooth (and efficient!), but safe processes for all cues. I felt very safe the whole time we were there.
We wore our masks and brought our hand sanitizer even though there were plenty of hand sanitizer and hand washing stations sprinkled throughout the property. Upon entering the grounds we were tempted to stop and explore all of the yummy goodies that were available, but decided it would be best to wait until after we picked our apples!
Swan’s Trail Farm features Washington honeycrisp apples, which are our favorite variety and, admittedly, was the main reason why we chose this particular farm. 😊 We followed the signs that guided us on a walk path to the U-Pick apple orchard and then listened to a brief tutorial on how to properly harvest the different apple varieties (who knew that each kind has a specific way to pluck it from the branch?!).
As much as we wanted to bring our own cute baskets for the occasion, due to COVID restrictions the farm requested that guests not bring their own bags or baskets — however, they did provide their own durable plastic bags for their guests to use for collecting apples.
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Once you are done picking your apples, you go to a weighing station where there is super minimal contact. You hang your own bag on the scale and the scale transmits the weight to an attendant’s tablet and they then ring you up by swiping your credit / debit card with the Square attachment.
There is a cute little tractor-pulled covered wagon that provides complimentary rides between the farm entryway / main area to the apple orchard if mobility is a concern for you. We decided to ride it back from the orchard just for fun! It was a short ride, but we sat on bales of hay and got to see the corn field / corn maze so it was definitely worth doing.
Of course we had to stop on our way out for some tasty goodies! I picked up fresh apple cider (my husband’s absolute favorite!) and apple cider doughnuts, kettle corn, and dried apple chips! Thank goodness they offered me another bag because my arms were FULL of treasures! 🤣
They also had other produce available (squash, corn, etc.) and an adorable general store with cute merchandise. My friends grabbed some food while we were there (who can pass up “fair food” when it’s available?!) and I enjoyed one of my hot-and-fresh apple cider doughnuts. Since we’ve been really watching our calorie intake for the past few weeks this indulgence tasted like HEAVEN. When you visit, the doughnuts are an absolute must.
If you have kiddos, this looked like an amazing place to take them… there were hayrides, a playground, carnival-like games, a petting zoo, a pumpkin patch, a mega corn maze, hayrides, etc.! I would highly recommend this farm for children of all ages.
Due to COVID-19, the farm has limited the number of people in the activity areas and advance purchased tickets are required so please keep that in mind before you visit! That being said, the food area, apple orchard and pumpkin patch are all open to the public and no tickets are needed. ☺️
A FEW TIPS:
The u-pick apple season lasts as long as the apple varieties are available… first come, first served and once they’re gone, they’re gone so plan your visit accordingly. I believe The Farm at Swan’s Trail may be close to closing their u-pick apple orchard for the 2020 season if they haven’t already, but there are many local apple farmers in the area that may still have u-pick experiences available!
It’s a farm, there are lots of people walking though, it rains a lot in Washington… all of which result in a very muddy experience! I highly recommend wearing waterproof shoes for this — rainboots (or “wellies”) are definitely the best choice. These Blondo boots are waterproof enough, but wellies would have been better
Please check the policies of the farm you would like to visit before bringing your own basket, bucket, or bin for gathering. There may be additional precautionary measures and new policies to review before you go, so do a little research!
Happy autumn, friends! 😊