Tehachapi has long been known for some of the best tree-ripened apples in the country. Here, local growers have spent most of their lives perfecting their fruit by tending to their orchards year-round. Come fall, some growers open their orchards to the public for apple picking, with harvesting typically beginning in late August and continuing as late as November. Last year, however, brought an early harvest due to drought conditions, but growers reported a sweeter fruit was produced as a result.

Over the years, thousands of visitors have traveled to Tehachapi to take advantage of U-pick harvesting. With more than a dozen different varieties found throughout local orchards, growers are happy to suggest which variety is best to suit your individual preferences. In addition, some local growers offer a variety of in-season fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. For those who seek the fresh fruit but prefer not to pick, growers offer to pick for you.

Delicious home-baked items are also available at some orchards, featuring everything from mouth-watering apple crisp to apple butter, apple rings and dried apples. Apple cider is perhaps the most sought-after apple product, and tends to sell out quickly.

Tehachapi orchards include:

Pulford's Appletree Orchard

19440 Highline Road: 15 varieties available, including Red Delicious, Winesap, Rome Beauty, Melrose, Empire, Jonagold, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Mutsu, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Spur Gold Blush, Braeburn and Lady Apple. Fresh ciders and jams from Chadmark Farms in Paso Robles are also available. Depending on availability of fruit, hours of operation are September through mid-November, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Orchard tours are available by appointment only during weekdays. Call 661-822-5021 for more information or for directions or visit pulfordappletreeorchard.com.

Kolesar's U Pick Orchard

13500 Highline Road: Five varieties available. Cherries are available seasonally. Hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during picking season.

RB Family Orchard

1437 Casey Drive: Apples are picked for you, with varieties including Golden Delicious, Red Delicous, Rome and Empire. Other products sold include dried apple rings, fresh-baked apple crisp, applecake, pumpkin bread, apple butter, apple syrup, apple chipotle sauce and fresh apple cider pressed daily on premises. For more information, call 661-822-5969 or visit rborchard.com.

Dries Farms

22710 Highline Road: U-pick available. In-season, apples, raspberries, pumpkins, lavender, lavender products and herbs will be available for purchase. For more information or directions, call 661-444-0835 or visit driesfarms.blogspot.com.

Knaus Apple Ranch

19042 Cherry Lane: U-pick available. Red Delicious and Golden Delicious apples are grown. Gift shop on premises with various products available, including gifts and crafts, jams and jellies, butters, apple chips and more. Reservations are required for field trips. Call 661-822-4142 for more information or for directions or visit knausappleranch.com.

Other popular Tehachapi farms include:

Moessner Farms

Jams, pickles and more now available and sold at The Shed, located at 333 E. Tehachapi Blvd. Call 661-821-6272 or visit moessnerfarms.com for more information.

Tangleweed Farm

21192 Old Town Road: Crops include lettuce, greens, berries, and cut bouqets, in addition to inseason vegetables and melons. Also olive oils, vinegars and Fair Trade Coffee is sold. Hours are Fridays from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. year-round. For more information, call 661-822-8806 or visit tangleweedfarm.com.