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On a lazy Friday afternoon, my roommate and I had our hearts set on one thing: apple picking.
Among the copious assignments, readings and tests we already had the misfortune of encountering, we finally found time to visit SLO Creek Farms. This orchard ended up being our top choice because of its close proximity and organic options.
It was important to visit before peak apple-picking season ended and we lost the chance to gather a cluster of our very own crisp red apples. If there is anything even remotely seasonal to do in San Luis Obispo, this is it.
We drove to the dusty orchard and endured the sweltering heat. We checked in with an employee at a booth near the gate of the orchard before turning to collect the bountiful fruit. Armed with wicker baskets and a sense of purpose, we escaped to the rows of sprawling apple trees.
Among the overgrown grass and unkempt branches, we quickly discovered the taxing effort of picking the perfect apple. Many were rotting, blemished or too small, though that just proved the true organic nature and lack of pesticides of these apples.
One word came to mind when describing this orchard: secluded. I craned my neck above the average-sized trees and tried to make out the shape of Bishop Peak. Instead, all I could see was an endless sea of green, brown and yellow around me.
A little while later, we returned to the booth with our spoils. We each ended up with five Braeburn apples, stripped of leaves, weighed and ready for the fridge at home. The crimson red fruit — some as big as a fist — were deliciously fragrant. Just like that, I had my supply of fruit for the week.
These particular apples feature a yellowish green under-color that fade into broad streaks of red-striped skin. Ready to be picked from the end of September to late November, these apples have a storage life of up to eight months.
The Braeburn apple has a delicious mixture of sweet and spicy tartness that is perfect chopped onto a salad, mashed into a sauce or even on its own. Each bite was just as crisp and juicy as the first and accented with that undeniable spicy aftertaste.
Overall, these apples make a great portable snack and offer a way to shake up your meals. If you’re looking for a similar experience, make sure to visit the farm before fall ends.
“My favorite part (about this orchard) is that it’s organic,” said Bryanna Coatney, an employee at SLO Creek Farms. “The owners are super generous and even give away their apples to charities in San Luis Obispo County.”
SLO Creek Farms is just a short drive from campus. Head south on Highway 101 until you hit San Luis Bay Drive. Take a left on Monte Road, and the orchard is located on the left. Make sure to call before planning an excursion because hours of operation are weather dependent.