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. Some years, however, bring an early harvest due to drought conditions, but growers report a sweeter fruit is 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 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.

Ha's Apple Farm

20916 Steuber Road: David and Kyung Ha started apple farming more than 30 years ago. They have since expanded their fruit and fruit product line to include seasonally available grapes, melons, pears, peaches, persimmons and pomegranates. They offer dried fruits, fruit rolls and brittles, jams, jellies, butters, syrups and vinegars. Visit their online store at hasapplefarm.com for more information.

Moessner Farms

One of the few apple businesses that operates year-round in Tehachapi is Moessner Farm Café & Store at 25000 Bear Valley Road. Mike Moessner sells apples grown on a few trees on his property, but also sells handcrafted sandwiches and food items prepared in his café that is open Friday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The café and store, which features indoor and outdoor seating, sells more than 29 varieties of jams, as well as pastries, cookies and even sauerkraut. Call 661-821-6272 or visit moessnerfarms.com for more information.

Kolesar's 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.

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.

Tangleweed Farm

21192 Old Town Road: Crops include lettuce, greens, berries and cut bouquets, in addition to in-season 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.

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