Lesser known than California’s vineyards, are its beautiful apple orchards. In Northern California’s El Dorado county is Apple Hill—a collection of 50 odd apple and fruit farms, tree farms, and wineries, laid in the Sierra foothills.
The rolling golden hills become covered in evergreens as you rise in altitude providing a splendid shade on the narrow and twisting country roads. Long white wooden fences border the orchards.
Stop at Rainbow Orchards for a delicious homemade apple cider donut and jug of homemade apple cider, and sit on hay bails to savor the goodness. They also have plenty of homemade pies (including frozen) to take home.
Head to one of the “U Pick” farms like Goyette’s North Canyon Ranch and pick apples yourself. For about $10 a box you can fill it up with all the Gala, Granny Smith and Pink Ladies that can fit. Later in the autumn season, visit the pumpkin patches and blue corn.
When you’re ready to move on from apples to grapes, there are plenty of vineyards through the area. At the fifth generation winery, Boeger, a tasting of six wines is only $5 and it goes toward a final purchase. Try the dry and light sauvignon blanc or the medium bodied and smooth tempranillo— both are delicious and are exactly the bottles I left with.
Use this handy map of the farms to plan your day in the country.
The sign reads: “Pardon the appearance of our pond. Courtesy of the California drought.”