My family and I are seasoned u-pickers. You name it and if it’s within 50 miles of Iowa City, I’ve probably picked it! I’ve rounded up u-pick orchards and pumpkin patches in the area for you and your family to enjoy. (Insider secret: all the u-pick places already have pre-picked produce, so if shlepping through orchards and patches isn’t your cup of hot apple cider, you’re in luck!)
Please double check with the farm before you set out to one of these destinations just to double check that I’ve done my homework correctly! Before we get to the list I wanted to share a few u-pick pointers with all of you.
Tips and Tricks
1. Time it right.
If you think it looks like a great day to go u-picking with your family, so do 500 other people in the corridor. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go, but that does mean one of two things: either get there as soon as they open to avoid the afternoon rush or plan to wait in quite a long line to pay for all of your goodies!
2. Plan for the weather.
Apples and pumpkins like to grow in the sun, which means you will be standing in the sun to pick. Even if it feels a little chilly, my experience is that you will be hot and sweaty by the time you’re done picking and lugging your large baskets of apples, pumpkins, and children back to the store to pay for them. That means wear sunscreen and layers. Sometimes if it’s really early in the season we also bring water bottles.
3. Consider the critters.
Apples are sweet and juicy–that’s why we like them. That’s also why honey bees like them! If you’re picking while it’s still warm plan on those little honey-makers joining you.
4. You. Gotta. Get. The. Baked. Goods.
Warm apple cider donuts, apple pockets, and homemade fudge are not to be missed! Go ahead and buy one of their pre-made frozen pies too–I love to get them out in the middle of winter!
5. Photo Op!
These beautiful outdoor settings can make a perfect backdrop for some dreamy family photos. Just be sure to call ahead and ask permission before setting your photo session date. Some locations may not allow it, and those that do may have rules or regulations to follow.
Iowa City Apple Orchards and Pumpkin Patches
Allen’s Orchard (Marion)
What’s Picking: You pick apples. Plums, grapes, pears, squash, beans, cherries also available for purchase.
They also sell: Apple slushies and baked goods
Hours: September-October Everyday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursdays until 7 p.m.
Bart’s Farm and Pumpkin Patch (Marion)
What’s Picking: Pumpkins
Hours: Starting September 23 M-F: 5 – 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Bloomsbury Farm (Atkins)
What’s Picking: Pre-picked pumpkins
They also sell: Admission to corn maze and other farm activities, baked goods, crafts
Hours: Starting September 16 M-Sat: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Colony Pumpkin Patch (North Liberty)
What’s Picking: Pumpkins
They also sell: Baked goods, fall decor, and hay rides
Hours: M-F: 4-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sand Road Orchard (Johnson County)
What’s Picking: You-pick organic blueberries (Blueberry season is usually in July)
They also sell: Seasonal produce, when available. They call themselves a grocery store so check it out and tell us what you find!
Hours: Daily 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sass Family Farm (Johnson County)
What’s Picking: Pre-picked fall produce
They also sell: Farm activities, treats, crafts
Hours: Daily 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Wilson’s Orchard (Johnson County)
What’s Picking: You pick apples and pumpkins. Blueberries, tart cherries, pumpkins, squash, and peaches also available for purchase.
They also sell: Apple slushies, Heyn’s ice cream, tractor rides on Bessie, and baked goods.
Hours: Daily August-October 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.