One of my kids favorite things to do in Southern Oregon is to visit our Grower’s and Farmer’s Markets. We love to check out the seasonal fruit and vegetables, to look at all of the beautiful artisan crafts and food, and of course the samples are always a huge hit. So, what would be the next step from visiting the markets? Visiting the farms that provide all of the fruit and vegetables that we enjoy, of course! It is so much fun and it creates many great teachable moments with the kids; showing them not only where the fruits and vegetables come from, but how much work it takes to pick the fruit. Mid-summer and fall are “ripe” with opportunities to pick fruit; peaches, apples, pumpkins, and sometimes more!
We seize the opportunity every year by picking apples at Leonard’s Apple Orchard right in Medford. It is so convenient because it is literally just minutes from the center of town. When we get there the owner greets us and last year she even gave the kids a ride in her orchard transportation. It was such a fun little extra treat for them as she did donuts in the open field. She showed us which rows to pick from and even told us to have a little sample so we know what we were picking.
We had a a great time (when don't we though :) ), Ilias kept eyeing the biggest and highest apples so we would have to drag the ladder over so he could climb up, to be bitterly disappointed that it had split because it got too big. Olivia would pick the lower ones and of course every time she picked one she would ask if she could eat it.
After picking three bags of apples we headed back to the barn where she weighed our apples out on a big antique scale. For ten bucks we got enough apples to make two batches of slow-cooker applesauce and a batch of apple butter, mmm.
If you want to go to Leonard’s it is located at 2171 Ross Ln, Medford, Oregon, 97501 MAP. During the picking season they are usually open Wednesday through Saturday, 9am to 1pm but you should really get added to their email list to get their latest updates! Apples are 50 cents a pound for the 2018 season. Their email is clover firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to contact them.
Where do you like to pick fruit in Southern Oregon? We always like to hear of new places!
For all of the u-pick fruit destinations we have found in Southern Oregon go here.
As an extra little treat for you we have concocted a no-peel slow-cooker applesauce that turns out so good and it is so easy! Check it out below!
No-Peel Slow-Cooker Applesauce
2lbs or about 20 medium apples
2 T. Cinnamon
2 T. Vanilla
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ c. water
1 t. of salt
Soak apples in the kitchen sink filled with water with ¼ cup of vinegar in it and thoroughly rinse. Cut out core, you don’t have to be fancy about it just cut it into chunks and throw it into the slow-cooker with cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar, and water. Set it on high for 4 to 5 hours. You will notice the apples look intact but poke them with a fork and you will be completely tender. You can then puree them whichever way you choose. I find that using an immersion blender right in the crockpot is the easiest way to not get burnt. If you don’t have an immersion blender a food processor or blender works. I suggest tasting it to see if you need to add more sugar at this time, and then you just let it cool. I let it completely cool before I put it in jars in my refrigerator or if you want to freeze some of it for preservation, just fill jars ¾ of the way so that there is room for expansion.
That’s it! Pretty easy. Enjoy!