About an hour east of Tucson in Willcox, there’s an orchard that opens its fruiting trees to the public every summer/early fall. Apple Annie’s Orchard has weekly events depending on what’s in harvest. This weekend was Peach Mania, with multiple varieties of ripening peaches available from picking off the trees along with Gala Apples and Hosui Asian Pears.
Visitors are greeted by the smell of freshly made kettle corn and the staff was offering free samples. “All you can eat” pancakes with homemade peach topping made for a delicious breakfast on a warm Saturday morning. A map of the orchard is provided to help visitors’ orientation and where to pick the fruit. Buckets are available for collecting the ripened fruit and are sold by the pound. You buy what you pick and it’s very easy to go overboard. The aisles of trees that are ready for harvesting are marked to ensure unripened fruit aren’t accidentally picked.
I hadn’t picked fruit off a tree in many years. When I was younger, we had a kumquat tree in my Los Angeles home, and once they were tangerine in color, we picked them by the bushel. There’s something about picking your own fruit, finding the perfect apple, pear, or peach. The fruit tastes sweeter since it’s fresh the staff even took an extra step to add a list of tips on how to take care of the peaches and how to properly allow them to ripen.
Apple Annie’s has many events in the upcoming weeks and I will definitely be returning to enjoy the homemade pie and taking home more handpicked fruit.