Ahh, fall. Not too hot, not too cold. The leaves are changing and beginning to cover the ground with a blanket of color. It’s the ideal season for filling your basket or bag with freshly ripened fruits and veggies (maybe even a pumpkin), sipping on some warm apple cider and relishing in the wonderful bounty provided by the earth. Enjoy the season at any of these five charming Nevada apple orchards, which are picture perfect for a fall day.
1. Gilcrease Orchard - 7800 N. Tenaya Way, Las Vegas
You may have thought the only thing growing in Las Vegas was the Megabucks jackpot, but you’re wrong. Put on your favorite floppy sun hat, slather on the sunscreen and lace up your comfortable shoes for a day of picking apples (plus several other fruits and vegetables) on 60 acres of fertile land in “Sin City.”
Gilcrease Orchard also sells its Famous Apple Cider, made from gala, yellow gala and an early red variety—nothing else. While your'e on site, be sure to try the apple cider donuts and kettle corn! The pumpkin patch opens in the fall as well, and its a lot of fun to visit with the family.
2. The Apple Basket – 7425 Franktown Road, Washoe Valley
Hunt for the perfect apple from mid-September through October at The Apple Basket, a USDA-certified organic apple orchard just east of Lake Tahoe in northern Nevada. The five-acre u-pick property includes 200 dwarf apple trees, a gift shop, children’s play area and a picnic area. Chickens roam the property and Fido is welcome too (in the picnic area).
While Washoe Valley has pristine water, the area’s mico-climate yields unpredictable result; this year, however, there are plenty of apples and several varieties ripe for the picking.
3. Sweet Farm – 3200 Alcorn Road, Fallon
On the banks of Northern Nevada's Carson River, Sweet Farm organically grows apples as well as other fruits and vegetables in Fallon.
The farm, which includes hundreds of trees and vines in the orchard and vineyard, also sells preserves, baked goods and farm fresh eggs (from cage-free chickens who live on the land). You can purchase products directly from the farm or at fairs and farmers markets.
4. Mackie Farms – 577 Mason Road, Hazen
An eight-acre peach orchard, which also grows apples and apricots, Mackie Farms is certified by the State Agriculture Department.
The desert orchard sells its products at farmer's markets but is also open for tours.
5. Master Gardener Orchard - Horse Drive, North Las Vegas
There are plenty of apples for the teacher at this orchard. Run by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, the Master Gardener Orchard is a test field for creating better crops a thriving location for buying fresh produce at a reasonable price. All proceeds go toward keeping the farm running.
Have you ever visited any of the five Nevada apple orchards above? Tell us about your experience or any other great orchards in Nevada that are open to visitors.