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Tuesday 23 October 2018

Apple Picking at Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch

The weather here in the Bay Area is always a little odd. It's technically Fall, and there are leaves falling off trees all over the place, but the sunny days we have had lately have been some of the warmest of the year. Of course, that's nothing unusual here as our seasons are kind of weird!

Despite the warm weather, I've been keen to get into the Fall spirit, especially seeing as Halloween is just over a week away! One of my favorite Fall activities is heading to a farm to enjoy the harvest season. Whether it be pumpkins, apples, pears or even chestnuts, there's just something about the Fall harvest season that is special.

A few weekends ago we headed north toward Sebastapol to visit Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch for an afternoon of apple picking. It was a hot, sunny day - definitely nothing like a traditional Fall - but we had a great time all the same. So long as we stayed in the shade!

Here's a look at our "not-so-Fall-looking" day of apple picking fun...

Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch offers both Golden Delicious and red Rome apples for U-Pick. The girls were keen to pick mostly red apples so we headed to the Rome trees first to start picking.

While Ava and Lola worked out what to do right away, Mathilde, at first tried to just grab any old apple that she found on the ground and throw it into our apple bag. With a little help from Daddy (and the apple picking stick) she soon learned how to choose a good apple to pick from the tree. No bag full of half eaten, bruised ground apples for us!

We then moved onto picking Golden Delicious apples for a bit of a mix.

Once our bag was pretty full (and too heavy for Ava to hold for longer than 30 seconds for a photo!) we headed back through the orchard to go weigh and pay for our harvest.

Mathilde insisted that we stop for this photo and positioned everyone in the right spot before I could take it! She had to include one with crossed eyes too.

I figured I should probably get in a shot too (there's never proof that I'm on our adventures), so I found a tree stump and set up the timer for this weirdly angled, too sunny shot. Not the best, but hey, it's better than nothing.

Back at the fruit stand we weighed our apples. Eighteen pounds in all. That's a lot of apple pie! Our apples were put into a box which Kim took to the car while the kids drank frozen apple cider (it melted into an apple juice slushy rather quickly - so good on a hot day), posed for funny photos and tasted delicious apple bread.

Ratzlaff Ranch is also home to a small pumpkin patch so we headed there next. While we didn't buy any pumpkins this time, we did get the obligatory "let's pose with pumpkins on hay bales" shots - although judging from her face, I think that pumpkin on Mathilde's lap is a little heavy!

Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch is located at 13128 Occidental Road, Sebastapol. The U-Pick apple season typically runs from September to December, but it's always best to check their Facebook page (here) to check opening hours and availability. U-Pick apples are $2.00 per pound. The fruit stand sells delicious apple cider, apple bread, cookies and popcorn. Picnic tables and bathrooms are available.

Have you been apple picking this Fall? Or have you been picking any other Fall fruits? We're planning on going chestnut picking next weekend - presuming I'm done with Halloween costume making by then.

P.S. The girls' Halloween themed dresses are from Rags.com

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