It’s harvest time again in Southern California, and that means apples are ripe for the picking. Before you head to the orchards for some hands-on fruit shopping, follow these common-sense tips and tricks:
- Research your orchards. Determine what you want out of your orchard – organic, low-spray, etc. Don’t hesitate to call the managers and ask about pesticides.
- Pack snacks or lunch. Never assume because you’re going to an orchard that food will be available. Stay on the safe side and pack snacks or a lunch.
- Plan for the weather. Will it be sunny? Bring sunscreen. Will it be rainy? Pack an umbrella or rain jacket.
- Dress for walking. You might be covering a few miles. Be sure to wear comfortable footwear and breathable clothing.
- Bring bags. Bring reusable bags from home. The orchard likely has some bags, but to be prepared, bring your own. Additionally, it helps the orchard owners conserve their supplies.
- Start with fallen apples. Remove any fallen apples from the ground and keep separate from the ones you pick from the trees. Compost the apples on the ground to avoid contamination.
- Start from the bottom and work up. Pick from the lower branches to avoid the use of ladders, and to keep apples from the upper branches falling and damaging those on the lower branches.
- Don’t wash apples until you’re ready to eat. Unwashed apples have a longer shelf life. Wash right before eating or using in your favorite recipes.
- Properly store your apples. Apples should be kept in a dark, cool place. Be sure to check on them every few days for signs of pest or spoilage.
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