Who doesn’t love fall? Not only is October National Apple Month, but the weather also starts turning chillier, the leaves start changing, Halloween costumes are picked out, and pumpkins appear in doorways, baked goods, and latte cups. But there’s one thing about fall that rises above the rest. And no, it’s not the extra foam you ordered for your PSL.
Welcome to apple-picking season!
That’s right: apples. The oft-overlooked baked good ingredient that’s been around since the dawn of fall-baked-goods time. There’s apple pie, apple donuts, apple turnovers, apple muffins, apple crisp… And don’t forget the apple cider and homemade applesauce.
But what’s even better than consuming apple deliciousness, is the actual act of picking said fruit.
According to the U.S. Apple Association, the U.S. has around 7,500 apple producers who grow an average of 240 million bushels of apples each year on 322,000 acres of land.
According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) at Iowa State University,
“A pick-your-own, or U-pick, farm allows consumers to harvest produce themselves. Therefore, the farm requires less labor for harvesting. Tasks such as grading, storing and packing are eliminated.”
Sounds fun, right?
Though not everyone in the apple industry is fully on-board with consumers doing their own apple picking, the allure of the activity is all about being one with Mother Nature. “It allows for a tactile connection with nature,” Scott Cohen of the University of Surrey, in England, told The Atlantic in 2015. “The ‘work’ is multi-sensual - one doesn’t just see, but can smell, feel and taste the apples.”
The top 10 apple-producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan, California, Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon, Ohio, and Idaho. And did you know that 67% of the U.S. apple crop is grown for fresh consumption?
What’s more, every state in the U.S. grows some type of apple - which pretty much means apples should be the national fruit. There’s also the fact that apples are the second-most consumed fruit in the U.S. - coming in only behind its spherical cousin, the orange.
Whether it’s Red Delicious, Cortland, Granny Smith or Honeycrisp, one thing is for sure: Americans love their apples! And apple-picking, it could be argued, is the best thing about fall.