Apple Season

You would never guess that in this harsh environment of the Sonoran desert that a little green oasis exists. We recently visited Howard’s Orchard, run by Jim Howard. It is an organic apple, peach and pear orchard located 20 miles outside of Tucson. Jim greeted us at the gate and welcomed us right in. He showed us back to the trees that were ripe for picking and let us go at it.

The difference between the desert and the orchard was stunning. Outside it was hot and dry and harsh. Inside it was cooler, shady, sweet smelling and full of life. So full actually that you could hear it all around in the bees eating the sweet juices of fallen rotting apples. Those bees paid us no attention as we picked apples around them because there was so much to eat there was no need for competition.

Jim started the orchard twenty years ago out of simple need for something like it in the area. I was telling him that I had previously traveled three hours east to Willcox ever year to get apples, but this year I had heard about his orchard via word of mouth. He used to do the same, go to Willcox that is, and so he didn’t want to go that far anymore and the orchard was born.

We collected over 50 pounds of apples. Eating at least a half a pound on the way. I can’t really tell you what we picked as Jim had not put up all the signs yet. I think some were granny smith and some were Jonathan’s.

V spent most of the time sleeping on my back, giving me visions of last year’s apple harvest.

S is getting really used to getting our fruit from orchards and farms and I feel so good about this. She knows already the difference between apple tree leaves and peach tree leaves. She can tell you what all the veggies are just from the plant leaves.

She did a lot of taste testing for me.


The temperature dropped a good 5 degrees simply because of the cool ground. It felt so good to wander through damp grasses. S even kicked off her shoes and ran barefoot for a while. When we checked out it was an hour later. We had 50 pounds of apples and only paid 38 dollars for it. When Jim asked what I was going to do with all the apples I said, “Well, make 15 quarts of apples sauce, dried apple rings, apple pie, apple crumble, apple everything.” To that he replied, “You must be a farm girl?” And I said, ” Nope, just a city girl with hopes and dreams.”

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10 Responses to Apple Season

  1. Looks like a fun day!!! The organic apple orchard we visit just opened last week, we are planning a trip next week, hopefully…depends how hubby is doing.

    Love the wonderful lessons S is learning about her food, so important.

    • KC says:

      It was a wonderful morning. Her enthusiasm for picking food is just wonderful to see! We really needed to get out of the house as well. With only one family car it’s hard to do a lot of activities out of the house.

  2. Meryl says:

    Was just thinking of trying to get some picking in this weekend. Looks so nice and cool!

    • KC says:

      It really was. I didn’t want to leave but I could only carry so many apples alone. We’re going back in late September for the Fujis. :)

  3. We are heading out next week to go picking but I don’t think we will have to deal with that heat! The temperatures over night have been 6 degrees Celsius, that would make it almost freezing!
    I agree, it is a proud thing to know that your children understand and know where their food comes from. I love when my littlest walks around telling everyone that he is eating a “homegrown bean” or whatever he has snatched from the garden. We live in farm country so we see the vegetables we buy growing right before us. Such a gift.

    Looks like quite a delicious haul!!

    • KC says:

      That’s even better living in the country, easy access to farms and nature. I love that everyone who’s responded to this post has a trip to an orchard coming up! We made 4 quarts of applesauce yesterday and didn’t even make a dent in those apples.

  4. What fun! We are looking at a very poor apple crop this year in Michigan. Makes me sad, honestly!

  5. Heather says:

    What a wonderful day you all had! Apple picking is a favorite September treat in our household as well. Enjoy this beautiful time of year.

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