Mountain Orchards is a wonderful place to go apple picking in Ottawa this autumn. The proximity to Ottawa (about 40 mins from downtown) makes it a great day trip destination. There is no admission or parking fee to enter the premises. Here are some of the great activities you can participate in:
APPLE PICKING –
The website for Mountain Orchards is regularly updated with the apple varieties available to pick. The season usually begins in early September and runs through October. You pay by the bag, not weight, with two sizes of bags available. There are small bags for $20 CAD and large bags for $38.50 CAD. They are sturdy plastic and can hold quite a haul. Keep in mind which variety of apple you are picking when choosing. To access the orchards, wait in line for a wagon ride out to the fields. There is a walking path accessible but if you have small kids, just wait for the wagon. Even with a large crowd I found the wait manageable and the line to move fast.
After exiting the wagon staff members direct you to the picking orchards for the varieties available. The staff also distributes bags and goes over picking protocol as well. When your bags are full, simply join the queue for wagons heading back to the entrance.
STRAW JUMP –
This is exactly as it sounds: straw to jump on. Hay bales and tunnels turn a covered barn into a childhood dream. It’s messy, dirty and lends itself to climbing and jumping. The kids spend forever playing in this place. As with anything straw, it gets EVERYWHERE.
This is not a conventional playground. All the playground equipment is made from old tires and tractors. Kids climb under tire tunnels, over tire towers and on tire hills. Old tractors on one side of the playground allow kids to pretend to drive. As a bonus there is a huge dirt hill overlooking the tractors and tires to run, roll or slide down.
PICNIC ARA –
Located next to the entrance is a picnic area. Food is available for purchase and eat on property. There is also the on site bakery where I highly recommend you purchase some apple cider donuts. They are on the small side, so do yourself a favor and grab a dozen. Make sure to give the apple cider a whirl as well. With no added sugar its one of the best I have had.
There are also forest trails and a corn maze on the property. We did not partake in those activities but I imagine they are quite fun. I am hoping to squeeze one more trip in to this orchard to snag some of my favorites, Honeycrisp.