Lesser known than California’s vineyards are its beautiful apple orchards. In Northern California’s El Dorado County, Apple Hill is full of apple, fruit and tree farms, along with several wineries.

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So many beautiful apples to pick

California’s rolling golden hills are here covered in evergreens as the altitude rises, providing splendid shade on the narrow and twisting country roads.

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.

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One apple tree could probably deliver more apples than I could consume in a year
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Green apples are my favorite

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.

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So many apples on the ground, back to the earth

When you’re ready to move on from apples to grapes, there are plenty of vineyards in 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 were tasteful, we took a bottle of each back with us.

Use this handy map of the farms to plan your day in the country.

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Scenes of the drought

The sign reads:  “Pardon the appearance of our pond. Courtesy of the California drought.”