Start your picking adventure here. This site offers listings of "U-pick" farms across the United States and abroad, outlines of regional growing seasons and tips on canning and freezing. Don't let that Web 1.0 look fool you—it's updated daily, so you can be guaranteed the freshest information.
Anyone passing through Jordan, Minnesota, (pop. 3,833) would doubtless find the Minnesota Harvest orchard a fine attraction. For the rest of us, its web site offers plenty to whip visitors into an apple-picking frenzy, including a breathtaking photo gallery of its fall foliage. There's also a handy glossary of terms for the serious picker. (The pores in the skin of apples are called lenticels—who knew?)
If you're going to do an orchard visit properly, sporting the right accessories is a must. The Purl Bee offers detailed instructions for making your own pastoral-style apple-picking tote. (Simply enter "apple-picking tote" into the home page search tool.) In addition to its obvious practical value, there's something poetically fitting about bringing a handmade item to the task of harvest.
"Golden Delicious Risotto." "Apple Onion Soup Gratin." "Golden Yogurt Coffee Cake." Hungry yet (or at least intrigued)? The Washington Apple Commission supplies users with the countless recipes that creatively infuse apples into the kitchen. Kid-friendly games and puzzles can get the whole family in on the activity as well.