Get your pick of fresh apples, treats here in western Pa.
Whether it’s Honeycrisp, Red Delicious, Fuji, Jonagold, Gala or a bushel of other varieties, you can’t beat the first crunch of a fresh apple this time of year — either picked right from the tree or coated with a decadent layer of caramel.
It’s apple season in Western Pennsylvania!
Apple growers are reporting a good season so far, despite the wet weather conditions in recent weeks, according to Judy Behney, a crop reporter in Adams County. Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the top 10 apple-producing states, after Washington, New York and Michigan, according to pickyourown.org , with fall apples available for picking through late October.
Apples are a good pick for healthy eating, as they’re fat free, low sodium and cholesterol free. A medium apple has about 80 calories.
At Soergels Orchards in Wexford, spokesman Eric Voll says the weather hasn’t been perfect, “but as long as there are apples on the trees in September and October, we count it as a blessing and as a successful year.” Soergels grows and harvests 28 varieties of apples.
Late spring rains caused challenges for the blossoms followed by a month without rain and with extreme heat in mid-summer into early fall, yet “despite these hurdles, we have a beautiful apple crop that we are proud to offer to our customers this year,” Voll says.
Soergels also features its fresh-pressed apple cider and partners with wineries, distilleries and breweries to provide cider for fermentation of wines, spirits and hard ciders. They sell their own jarred applesauce as well as apple butter, jams, jellies, pies, pastries and apple cider doughnuts.
Soergels has Fall Festival Weekends from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. through the end of October, with apple and pumpkin picking, tractor and hayrides, games, horse drawn wagon rides, and food from the food barn and Back 40 BBQ, and Pick-Your-Own apples during the weekends as available.
Details: Soergel Orchards, 2573 Brandt School Road, Wexford, 724-935-1743 or soergels.com
35th annual Hickory Apple Festival
Nothing says “welcome to fall” better than the tempting aroma of a homemade apple pie baking in the oven – or in the case of the hearty peelers, corers, slicers, crimpers and bakers from Mt. Pleasant Township Volunteer Fire Co., its Ladies Auxiliary and neighbors in the Washington County community, 1,500 apple pies over four days.
Some 50 faithful volunteers gathered at the fire hall last week to pitch in and prepare the delicious apple desserts that will be on the menu — in addition to homemade apple dumplings, apple butter, caramel apples, apple cider and other taste treats — at the 35th annual Hickory Apple Festival Oct. 6 and 7.
Gary Farner, president of the fire department and chairman of the Apple Festival committee, says the festival is the largest fundraiser for the Mt. Pleasant Fire Department. His wife, Kathy, is on the pie-making team and says that “people have their favorite jobs on the apple pie assembly line.” Boxed pies will be available for takeout.
Home-cooked foods include stone oven baked bread, roasted chicken, bean soup, hot sausage, kielbasa, roast pork and more. There will be a petting zoo, crafters and children’s activities. Apple pie eating contests will be held both days.
Among the performers will be the Fort Cherry High School Band, Mon Valley Cloggers, Foggy Hollow Band, The Mansfield 5 and more.
Details: Hickory Apple Festival, Oct. 6-7, Mt. Pleasant Township VFC, 106 Main St., Hickory; pancake breakfast both days from 7 a.m.-noon; activities and entertainment from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 724-356-3378 or hickoryapplefest.com
Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival
Another popular festival celebrating the favorite fall fruit is the Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival Oct. 6-7. Highlights include 240 crafters and food vendors, Baby Apple Cheeks and Apple Bake contests, and for kids, train rides and pony rides, Jan’s Barnyard Petting Zoos and appearances by Belle from “Beauty the Beast.”
With live music and entertainment both days, the festival also features fresh-pressed apple cider and the Fort Allen Antique Farm Equipment Association.
Details: Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival, Oct. 6-7, 326 East Pittsburgh St., Delmont; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 6, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 7, 724-325-8867 or delmontapplenarts.com
Triple B Farms
Pick-your-own Honeycrisp, Jonagold and Cortland Apples 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through October; Pick Your Own Weekdays runs Oct. 5-26 from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. Fall Festival open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends through Oct. 28, includes a corn maze, Liberty Tube and Squirrel Hill Tunnel slides, haunted barn, kids play area, petting zoo and hayrides. Stage Right Sensations will perform at 3 p.m. Oct. 13.
Details: Triple B Farms, 823 Berry Lane, Forward Township, 724-258-3557 or triplebfarms.com
New crops of Ginger Gold, McIntosh and Gala Apples are available for purchase. Oct. 1-31 is Schramm’s Fall Festival, featuring hayrides, pirate ship, living maze and corn box. Refreshments include fresh apple cider, candy and caramel apples, and apple cider slush.
Details: Schramm Farms, 1002 Blank Road, Penn Township, 724-744-7320 or schrammfarms.com
Weekends through Oct. 28, Trax Farms is open for pumpkin picking, apple tasting in orchards, food booths from local bakers and cooks, and a 2.5-acre cornfield maze. Fresh apple dumplings and hot apple cider available in the Café. Hayrides 4:30-7 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays before Oct. 31. Fall Festivals are Sept. 29-30 and October weekends.
Details: Trax Farms, 528 Trax Road, Finleyville, 412-835-3246 or traxfarms.com
Oct. 6 is a day of fun, food and shopping from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in downtown Mars, with exhibitors, games, crafts and entertainment during the 34th annual Mars Applefest, featuring the third annual Apple Baking Contest; apples must be the main ingredient in all entries.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.