There’s just something about the warm breeze of summer and the sweet and spicy smells of fall approaching – it probably has you dreaming of crunching leaves, big cozy sweaters, hot coffee, rubber boots, homemade soup, and crisp, fresh, Ontario apples. Did someone say apples? The season is upon us and it’s time to get ready to explore the apple orchards in the region. Whether you’re looking for an excuse for a country road drive to buy some local apples or pies or you wish to pick your own (PYO), there’s something for everyone. Each orchard offers that small-town local farmer feel and plenty of activities for the kiddos (and adults). Read on to learn how to get your apple on with these apple orchards, markets, and events that are open to the public in the Bay of Quinte region.
Pop in to appreciate the local produce and homemade treats or spend the entire day picking that perfect apple with the family. Be sure to check out their websites or social media pages to plan your day – apple orchards typically operate seasonally so they open to the public on certain dates.
886 Grills Rd, Belleville
Grills Orchards is a short drive just outside of the Belleville core. They grow and sell fifteen of the most popular Ontario apples, all available for pick-your-own depending on the season. Ask Diana, the owner of the orchard, about the best apples for baking, cooking and eating. They also bake their own bread and pies each day and make mouth-watering fudge. On top of their own homemade products, they also sell local meats, cheese, honey, vegetables, ice cream by the scoop, maple syrup, baked goods and jams and jellies (sugar-free options available).
Campbell’s Orchard & Country Market
1633 County Rd 3, Carrying Place (Quinte West)
Campbell’s Orchards is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year! They have a little bit of everything – with their beautiful property, dogs, cats, and chickens running around (try to spot the sheep too), a corn maze, Apple Falls Cider, and an abundance of homegrown food available to pick or purchase, you can easily spend an entire day with the family here. They’re also open all year and their products change with the season.
143 Dundas St, Brighton, ON
If you’re looking for apple picking, small-town country style, Dunnett Orchards is the place. The orchard is located just outside of Brighton and has over 100 acres filled with stunning apple trees. Pick your own or purchase Ontario apples, as well as other products like asparagus, tart cherries, raspberries, honey, apple cider and maple syrup. This spot is quiet, quaint, and full of friendly small-town staff and visitors.
14953 County 2 Rd, Brighton, ON
Cricklewood Farm has been my go-to place since I could walk and hold an apple. They’ve grown a lot since then, now offering pick-your-own for 60 different apples, raspberry picking and pumpkin picking! They also have over 6 acres of corn mazes, a full playground for the kids, and guided tours to learn more about Cricklewood and the variety of apples on the property. Like every orchard, you can’t leave without buying a local pie or snack. They sell their own apples, corn, raspberries (frozen and fresh depending on the season), pumpkins and squashes, baked goods, sparkling cider and jams.
How do you like them apples? Choose from home-grown and homemade apple sauce, apple fritters, apple crisps, apple pies, apple juice, apple cider, wildflowers, garden vegetables, chocolate, fudge, cheese, cookies, muffins, frozen fruit, lunches, and even more pies. Should I continue? As you can see, there’s plenty of delicious goods to choose from at various markets in the region. Whether or not you picked apples all day, grabbing something from one (or all) of the orchards or markets is a great way to immerse yourself in the fall season.
Apple Gates Orchard
728 Stockdale Rd, Trenton (Quinte West)
Apple Gates Orchard is a small family-owned and operated orchard. They have been growing, picking and selling an array of Ontario apples since 1974. Their products are available for purchase at the farm gate (see address) and the Front Street Farmers’ Market in Quinte West.
365 Main St, Brighton
Cheers Farms is the cutest roadside market in the region. It’s a family-owned and operated business, with husband and wife, Dave and Lorraine holding the reins with other family members and local staff greeting customers at the door and helping during busy seasons. If they don’t grow it, they will be sure to bring it in from another local Ontario farmer/producer. In the little market, you will find baked goods for sale (homemade each day), as well as plenty of apples, strawberries, onions, potatoes, beets, corn and fruit baskets.
Belleville Farmers’ Market
Pinnacle Street, Market Square, Belleville
The Belleville Farmer’s Market has been running for nearly two centuries! What’s so special about this farmers’ market is that it’s open all year round and hosts an array of local farmers, producers and artisans. The market runs every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at the Market Square behind City Hall.
All of Main St, Brighton, ON
If you’re looking for something fun, lively, and all things apple, be sure to mark Brighton’s Applefest on your calendar. The region is full of rich agricultural land, home to many apple orchards (as you can see), wineries and farms. Applefest is a way to celebrate the region’s beautiful land and the peak harvest time for…you guessed it–Ontario apples. Plan a weekend near Brighton to experience the sights, smells and sounds of Applefest!
Flavours of Fall Festival
Flavours of Fall is actually an organization on its own traveling from different towns across Ontario. The Belleville Flavours of Fall Festival is an excellent way to celebrate the beginning of harvest season, enjoy the beloved scents of cinnamon and apples, support the local community and encourage young kids to get excited about seasonal and local food. Catch this ONE DAY event on September 28th, 2019.
I recommend checking out at least one of these spots this season. Soak in the crisp fall air, appreciate the gorgeous fall leaves along the highway and country roads and indulge in a slice of homemade apple pie (you can eat half of it in one sitting, we’ve all done it). Thank you for reading, it’s been a slice.