Apples are not just good for keeping doctors away; they are also great smelling and can be a source of fun on a fall afternoon. Apple picking, besides being fun, is practical as apples are used for making jams, pies and juices. Apples are good also for their scent; just having them around is part of the crisp smells of fall. There are many farms and orchards just outside of Philadelphia full of activities and good quality fruits and vegetables for picking. Here are the top five places to pick apples in the Philadelphia area.
Linvilla Orchards
137 W Knowlton Road
Media, PA. 19063

There is so much to do at Linvilla Orchards. If you lived close by, you would never be bored.  Their apple picking season runs from September through most of October. This farm is over 30 acres and grows multiple fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, eggplant, peppers, grapes and lettuce that are all pick-your-own. Linvilla also offers many other activities and events all month long. Some of these include gardening clubs, game night, crafts and story times for kids. There is also a petting zoo, mini golf and special hayrides. The orchards, farm stand and animals are available all week long, but check for specific events that generally occur on the weekends (be aware, this is when it is most busy). Admission is free; you can pay as you go for specific activities and purchases.

Highland Orchards
1000 Marshallton –Thorndale Road
West Chester, PA 19380
(610) 269-3494

Highland Orchards has been around since 1941, has over 200 acres and is open all week. The fields are available for picking until 5pm each day, and they grow several varieties of apples. This orchard and farm also gives you the ability to pick many types of fruits and vegetables. They also sell baked goods and farm stand foods, and are nearly famous for their baked pies. Some say they have the best apple cider donuts in the area. You can also enjoy hayrides and pumpkin picking in the fall.

Shady Brook Farms
931 Stony Hill Road
Yardley, PA.  19067
(215) 968-1670

At Shady Brook Farms, you can pick other fruits besides apples, such as blueberries and peaches. And when in season, blackberries, pumpkins and strawberries are available. Shady Brook Farms is good old-fashioned, family-friendly fun, especially for fall activities. This includes haunted hayrides and pumpkin picking during their Pumpkin Fest in October, the end of apple picking season. They run monthly events and are available for parties and group tours. Shady Brook Farms also has popular Wine Concerts every Friday in the summer.

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Solebury Orchards
3325 Creamery Road
New Hope, PA 18938

New Hope and Bucks County are full of natural beauty, history and are easy to get to. You can pick your favorite fruit when in season at Solebury Orchards, nearly year round. In the late summer and early fall is when you will find apples, blueberries and peaches. Picking for apples is during the season (late August through the second week of November), Thursday-Sunday from 9-6. They will give you a ride out to their fields on a tractor-pulled wagon. They also have a market for you to purchase baked goods, apple cider and apple cider donuts. Pumpkin and cherry picking are also popular here.

Snipes Farm And Education Center
890 W. Bridge St.
Morrisville, PA 19067
(215)295 1139

At Snipes Farm, you can not only pick apples, you can become more educated on farms: how they are worked and their history. They even have a farm museum with antique farm machinery. Some of the other things to do at this Farm and education center are various tours, picking from the orchards and farm-related fun and activities. In the fall, fun is accompanied by music from area bands, a Halloween playground and a Corn maze. Snipes Farm also offers camp internships. This relatively new farm, established in 2008, teaches sustainable farm practices, but the family is not new to farming. This is the 11th generation to run a farm.

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Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here