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Peach Picking Fun at Branstool Orchards

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This post was written in partnership with Branstool Orchards.

Peaches at the grocery store are hit or miss, am I right? Mostly miss, in my opinion. I’m always afraid to buy them because they usually disappoint. There is nothing like a sweet, juicy peach, but they are just hard to come by at your local grocery store.

Did you know you could pick your own peaches in Central Ohio? I’ll be honest, I did not. I figured peaches had to come on a truck from Georgia, therefore they were picked early with a makeshift calculation for landing on the shelf at peak ripeness. (Can you tell I’m a little bitter about grocery store peaches?)

Little did I know, amazing, juicy, sweet peaches are yours to be had less than an hour down the road from downtown Columbus (Ohio, not Columbus, GA 😉 )! Branstool Orchards is a beautiful spot off Route 62 in Utica, OH where you can pick your own peaches! (And not just peaches! Apples and pears are available, too!)

Picking your own peaches at Branstool Orchards is a relaxing and family-friendly experience. Kids are encouraged to take part, dogs are welcome, and there are picnic tables throughout the orchard where you can stop and have a snack or a picnic! Branstool Orchards wants your family to have a good time when you visit! They want it to be an outing where your whole family is relaxed and enjoying the process, not just the end result!

You can pick up a wagon (for either your kids or your peaches) and stroll through the orchard. I think most kids LOVE this kind of thing! It’s so good for them to make the connection about where their food comes from, and I think they enjoy it more when they know they’ve hand-picked what they’re eating.

I don’t know many kids you have to convince to eat a peach, but mine can be weird about eating a lot of things I personally think are delicious, so you never know. I do know that being able to pick the peaches and eat them out in the orchard made my kids 100% willing to eat them at home – something that is never a given!

You guys, it’s beautiful! It’s relaxing and unpretentious. Are there farms that are pretentious? I don’t know, but that just feels like a good way to describe the orchard!

Peach season is typically July through September. This year things came a little early at the orchard, so they are expecting just 2-3 more weeks of peach availability! Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates on what peaches are currently available.

If you don’t have time to pick your own, no worries! Pre-picked peaches are available in the market.

Branstool Orchards handpicks their own peaches at the perfect point of ripeness and then employees hand sort them, picking out “seconds” that don’t meet their quality standards. We got to see this first hand, and you can too, as the workspace is visible from and attached to the market. Don’t worry, the “seconds” don’t go to waste, you can buy them at a reduced price for canning or jam!

Branstool Orchards is partnering with several local businesses: Columbus Brewing Company is using Branstool peaches for a peach beer! If you head down the road to Velvet Ice Cream Factory, you can get a peach sundae made from Branstool peaches!  Urban Spreads uses Branstool peaches in their jam, sold at the market! So many amazing ways to eat (or drink) a peach!

Another great thing about the produce grown at Branstool Orchards is their chemical-free initiatives. Over the past several years they have been reducing their use of chemical pesticides by using mating disruption and companion planting. You can read more about that here. They also polish their apples instead of using the wax you will find on your grocery store apples which is another bonus!

With the exception of just a few items, everything in the farm market is from Ohio. The produce that is not peaches, apples or pears is from local Amish farms, provided for your one-stop convenience, and (just so you know) there are also two options for cobbler topping available for purchase! 😉

If you can’t make it out for peaches, Apples will be available to pick until November! You can see the approximate ripening dates here and make a plan for this fall!

I hope you and your kids can carve out a day for peach picking before the season ends!

Know Before You Go:

Website: Branstool Orchards
Address: 5895 Johnstown-Utica Rd NE, Utica, OH 43080
Phone: 740-892-3989
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM-6:00PM, Sunday: 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

  • It is recommended that you allow at least 1 hour for U-Pick.
  • U-Pick peaches are $1.50/lb.
  • There is a $10 minimum for peach-picking.
  • Boxes are provided for picking.

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Plain City Apple Picking Adventures

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We had beautiful weather for apple picking with friends at The Orchard and Company: blue skies, sunshine, fluffy white clouds and 70-some degrees! Now I’m officially in the mood for fall, looking up recipes for apple crisp and making note of all the fall festivals going on around town!

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The grounds of the orchard are beautiful and the apple picking was close to the parking lot and the whole process was very easy!

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The Orchard and Company has fall festival weekends on Saturdays and Sundays, September 10 – October 30, 2016. They happened to be open for Gala picking on a Friday – the first Friday of September, so we jumped on it since Gala apples are a household favorite! However, that did mean missing out on the festival fun – but our kids didn’t know any different and they still had a blast!

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One of the activities available at the orchard is fishing! You can also feed the fish from the dock!

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If you make this a yearly tradition, make sure to get your pictures at this cute sign!

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To enjoy the festival weekends, you must purchase a Farm Yard Pass to enjoy the extra activities. The pass is $10 for adults and children over 2. This pass is good for activities like the animal barn, pedal cart track, zip line, a corn box and more! Fishing is $2 extra and Gem Mining is $5. You do not need to buy a Farm Yard Pass to pick apples.

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September U-Pick dates are estimated as follows (check the website for updates and pricing!):

Golden Supreme: September 10th & 11th 11 AM- 5 PM

Honeycrisp: September 10th & 11th 11 AM- 5 PM

Jonamac: September 10th & 11th 11 AM – 5 PM

Macoun: September 17th & 18th

Jonagold: September 24th & 25th

After picking our apples, we weren’t ready to end our fall fun! My friend Jaclyn had spied a sign for a Yutzy’s Farm Market on the way to the orchard, so we decided to check it out! It ended up being the perfect place to sit down and eat our packed lunches, let the kids play and then lure them off the playground equipment for an amish-made snack!

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Yutzy’s sells all kinds of fresh produce, local meats, bulk food items and has a really popular deli. I say popular because there was always a line (and I know this because we had to excuse ourselves through it a few times to take the kids to the restrooms!)

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They also sell homemade baked goods, pumpkins and other fall squash!

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Out in the yard, there is a play area with several picnic tables!

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Besides this unique playground equipment, there were also llamas and ponies! My youngest is somehow really into horses, so he LOVED this!

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I was feeling extra generous with the sugar because it was Friday and beautiful outside and these cupcakes were only $1.50, but this is how that ended up:

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The funny part was, he looked at me and whined, “It’s on my arm!” and held his arm out for me to wipe. (Never mind that hair/eye incident!) The clerk at the counter must have had some foresight (or parenting experience) because she had insisted on giving me paper towels when I asked her for a few plastic forks to eat the cupcakes with!

We headed home in time for a late nap, but if you want to make a full day of it, try stopping at The Cheese House just around the corner, or attending the Shekinah Festival on Saturday (9/10)!

Know Before You Go:

The Orchard and Company, 7255 US Hwy 42 N., Plain City, OH 43064, 614-873-0510

2016 Fall Festival
Saturdays & Sundays, September 10th – October 30th
11:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Hours of operation are weather permitting.)
Phone: 614-873-0510

Yutzy’s Farm Market

6010 Converse Huff Road, Plain City, Ohio 43064
Phone: 614-873-3815
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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