Fall is upon us and that can only mean one thing — pumpkins and apples will be everywhere. From coffee drinks to craft beer to the pastries on display at Giant Eagle, everything will have a hint of pumpkin spice or apple crisp. With this autumn onset comes the inevitable flooding of pumpkin- and apple-picking photos on your Instagram feed.
Brace yourself for couples’ pictures with captions like “I picked the best pumpkin in the patch” and “I’m FALLing for you,” along with apple-picking photos featuring people in scarves and flannels in the 80-degree weather of a Pittsburgh September.
Despite the social media frenzy of these fall traditions, we have to face the reality of it — pumpkin and apple picking is actually very fun for all ages. Whether you’re a family with young kids excited to make jack-o-lanterns, an elder Gen Z with a love for fresh apple crisp and a disdain for the youth’s Instagram trends (me), or a couple looking for a nice afternoon outdoors, a day at one of these farms or orchards in the Pittsburgh area will offer the ideal autumnal experience.
Here are some great places for apple and pumpkin (as my yinzer mom would say, punkin’) picking in the Pittsburgh region.
Soergel Orchards: Apples and pumpkins2573 Brandt School Road, Wexford. soergels.com/fall-update
Since it’s a true classic, I had to start with Soergel Orchards. Soergel’s might be the most popular location on my Instagram feed during the months of September and October, all thanks to its pick-your-own apples and pumpkins events for the fall season. Beginning in mid-September, on Soergel’s Fall Festival days, guests can pick their own fall produce and enjoy other fall luxuries like candy apples and hayrides. Fall Festival days will be every Saturday and Sunday from Sept. 17 until Oct. 30.
Triple B Farms: Apples and pumpkins823 Berry Lane, Monongahela. triplebfarms.com
Apple picking at Triple B Farms has already begun and takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pumpkin picking will start in mid-September and last all October. Apples and pumpkins are not the only fresh foods guests can pick — winter squash picking happens on the same schedule as pumpkin picking and zucchini lasts through September, along with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, peaches, and sweet corn. Sunflowers are also available for picking through the early fall season.
Simmons Farm: Apples and pumpkins170 Simmons Road, McMurray. simmonsfarm.com
Guests at Simmons Farm can pick not only apples and pumpkins this season, but also peaches, strawberries, and flowers in the summer and early fall. Apple picking is currently open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends. Pumpkin picking will begin later in the fall; Simmons has yet to announce an official date, but the weekends will also feature hayrides, corn mazes, a petting zoo, and more.
Hozak Farms: Pumpkins488 Anderson Hozak Road, Clinton. hozakfarms.com
As a kid growing up in Moon Township, Hozak Farms was a fall and winter staple in our home. Although I do believe the cut-your-own Christmas tree selection is more robust than the farm’s squash options, pumpkin picking at Hozak’s is still a lovely memory for me and my siblings and cousins. Hozak’s Fall Festival days are on Saturdays and Sundays throughout October, featuring food, kettle corn, and hayrides in addition to pumpkin picking. Guests can also take a walk through the farm’s unique Christmas barn, even if it's still a bit too early for Yuletide decor and gifts.
Yeck Farms: Pumpkins568 Baker Road, Freedom. tinyurl.com/Yecks
Similar to Hozak’s and Soergel’s, Yeck Farms in Beaver County hosts Fall Festival days on Saturdays and Sundays throughout October. The farm holds hayrides throughout the season and hides “golden tickets” in the pumpkin patch for lucky visitors to find and win a special surprise. Right now, Yeck is in the height of its sweet corn season, but pumpkin season will begin in early October.
Norman’s Orchard: Apples2318 Butler Logan Road, Tarentum. normansorchard.com/season
Norman’s Orchard in Tarentum is currently finishing up its pear and grape season, but apples are always the main attraction. Throughout September and October, apples like gala, honeycrisp, Jonagold, double red delicious, golden delicious, Crispin, and northern spy reach full ripeness. While guests can usually pick all of their fruit at Norman’s, apple picking will only be available on select Saturdays this year due to a spring freeze that killed 85% of the apple blossoms. Stay tuned to Norman’s website throughout the season to learn when it is safe to pick your own apples.