Apple Picking in Florida: The Best Orchards and Farms
Have you ever dreamt of strolling through picturesque apple orchards, choosing the juiciest fruits to take home? While apple picking is a beloved fall activity in many parts of the country, you may be surprised to learn that Florida, with its warm climate and tropical breezes, doesn’t typically boast an abundance of apple orchards. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on apple picking altogether.
While apple orchards are rare in Florida’s diverse agricultural landscape, a handful of farms and orchards offer limited opportunities for apple picking. These farms have defied the odds, using innovative techniques and specific apple tree varieties that can thrive in Florida’s unique climate.
So, if you’re excited about apple picking in the Sunshine State, keep reading as we explore the limited options of orchards and farms that offer this fun activity.
Why Apple Trees Don’t Thrive in Florida
While apple picking may be popular in many states, apple trees don’t thrive in Florida. You may be wondering why this is the case, and the answer lies in this sunny state’s challenging climate and soil conditions.
Florida’s warm and humid climate is not ideal for apple trees, which prefer a cool and temperate climate for optimal growth. The heat and humidity can make it difficult for apple trees to set fruit and properly develop.
Additionally, apple trees require many chill hours, which are periods of temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, to break dormancy and produce high-quality fruit. Florida’s mild winters simply do not provide the necessary chill hours.
Moreover, apple trees also require well-drained soil with a pH level between 6 and 7. Unfortunately, Florida’s sandy soils, often found in coastal areas, are unsuitable for apple tree cultivation. Apple trees need soil that retains moisture while allowing excess water to drain away, and sandy soils tend to drain too quickly.
What Fruits Thrive in Florida?
While apple picking may not be readily available in Florida, there are other fruits you can pick. The Sunshine State offers other delicious fruits, such as oranges, strawberries, and peaches, which thrive under Florida’s unique growing conditions.
So, next time you are looking for fresh and juicy fruit, be sure to explore the abundant alternatives Florida offers.
Where Can You Go Apple Picking in Florida?
There are limited opportunities for apple picking in Florida. Thanks to innovative farming practices and careful selection of apple varieties, we found an orchard that has managed to create a fun apple-picking experience for locals and tourists.
While the apple yield may not be as abundant as in other regions, this orchard has found a way to make the most of Florida’s unique agricultural landscape.
Hatfield’s Orchard U-Pick
Hatfield’s Orchard U-Pick is a family-owned 5-acre farm located in Crystal River. The farm was started in 2016, with its new owners taking over in October 2021.
Visitors to Hatfield’s Orchard U-Pick can enjoy the thrill of apple picking with their pick-your-own option in the summer months of May and June. However, a few trees produce apples, but they are looking to grow their orchard over the coming years.
You will find two apple varieties grown on the farm: the Anna and the Tropic Sweet Beauty. These apples are ideal for baking the perfect apple pie!
Visitors to the farm can enjoy a picnic with their loved ones under the shade provided, take in the beauty of the lush surroundings, and breathe in the fresh air. The farm hopes to offer more activities in the future.
If you visit in the fall, expect an abundance of juicy muscadine grapes, plump blueberries, peaches, and nectarines. Be sure to call Hatfield’s Orchard U-Pick before visiting them to confirm which fruits are available for U-Pick.
The perfect family outing is waiting for you in Crystal River, Florida!
While apple orchards might not be common in Florida’s warm climate, a few select farms and orchards have managed to grow apple trees and provide apple picking activities to their visitors.
In addition, Florida has an abundance of other fruits available for picking, such as blueberries and various citrus fruits.