What do Spitzenberg, King and Cox Orange Pippin all have in common? No, they aren’t the next generation of Santa’s reindeer—they are the varietal names of some truly delicious apples. This season, think beyond the Red Delicious in favor of heirloom apple goodness. The Tualatin Valley is so ga-ga for apple season that we hold multiple heirloom apple festivals in the fruit’s honor, two of which are happening over the same October weekend. Friday, October 13th may be unlucky, but the two days that follow it are sure to be sweet.
Apple Picking, Eating and Drinking Itinerary
Saturday, October 13
Start your day with a relaxed morning at Oregon’s largest all-agricultural farmers market in downtown Beaverton. Over a dozen apple farmers will be showcasing just as many varieties.
Next, it’s easy pickings at the “short orchard” of low-hanging branches at Beaverton’s Bell’s Orchard (Friday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Available apple varieties include Fuji, Gala and Jonagold. Barlett pears and from-the-orchard honey can satiate your sweet tooth, too.
Expand on your apple mania with Oregon Heritage Farms and its annual Applefest (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; free). Hayrides, bobbing-for-apples and a seriously impressive apple tasting is one way to feel like you’re really embracing the spirit of autumn. Those in-the-know do not leave without a just-made caramel apple.
Dinnertime is a cozy affair with Sherwood’s Smockville Brewhouse. Be sure to save room for dessert as the apple pie puff pastry with maple ale cream is not to be missed. After dinner, take a short drive to Xylem Cider Works. The industrial cidery gives way to our favorite Oregon ciders, many of which are infused with honeysuckle, currants and the like.
Sunday, October 14
While the historic structure of the South Store Café may feel old-fashioned, you will find a forward-thinking breakfast of inventive pastries and matcha lattes. Across the street, Smith Berry Barn will beckon you with its Heirloom Apple Festival (noon to 4 p.m.; free). Over 20 varieties of heirloom apples will be at-the-ready for sampling. If you need a break from the red fruit, then treat yourself to some squash soup, pumpkin cookies or local wine.
With two heirloom apple festivals under your belt, you’ll feel extra rejuvenated from much more than one apple a day.