With autumn well upon us, the apples, blackberries, and pumpkins are plump and ripe for plucking. And though picking fruit might seem more of a rural activity, the “Apple Country” of Oak Glen lies an easy drive from the Terraces at The Ambassador Gardens. Let’s visit three of the best orchards and farms for pick-your-own fruit, soul-warming cider, and fun fall activities for everyone.

Willowbrook Apple Farm

A 75-minute drive east from Pasadena takes you to the bucolic Willowbrook Apple Farm. This beautiful spot in the San Bernardino foothills is steeped in heritage. In fact, the farm’s Stayman Winesap apple trees were planted 110 years ago. Once you’ve introduced yourself to resident mini-donkey, Star — as well as the farm dog, hen, and mini-pig — it’s time to enjoy some press-your-own cider, barbecue, and caramel apples. (Apple picking is limited, as it has proved to be particularly popular this year.) To indulge both the child and the adult in you, book in for one of Willowbrook’s wine tasting and s’mores campfire evenings. Autumn was made for moments like this.

Stone Soup Farm & Heritage Orchard

Looking for a Halloween with a difference this year? On Oct. 31, Stone Soup Farm & Heritage Orchard transforms into an Enchanted Glen, featuring pumpkin painting, spooky stories with s’mores, ghostly archery sessions, and hunts for friendly spirits in the surrounding fields and woodland. It’s a great day out for kids, and just as much of a kick for grownups. Otherwise, visit anytime this season to pick apples, blackberries, and pumpkins in the fresh mountain air — they’re perfect ingredients for your own homemade pies and crumbles. There’s also tomahawk throwing, cider pressing and candle dipping, gemstone and mineral panning, not to mention a shop brimming with preserves, chutneys, and pickles. Don’t forget to take some back to Pasadena.

Los Rios Rancho

Southern California’s largest apple farm, Los Rios Rancho, has been growing apples for over a century. Unfortunately, they were recently hit by a huge fire, which destroyed many of the farm’s buildings. The good news is that apple picking is still on the menu; you can still pluck Galas, Granny Smiths, Double Red Deliciouses, and Spartans off the branch in the picturesque Glen Oak countryside. The farm fairs are still going ahead, too — offering activities like candle dipping and toy making. You can also volunteer a few hours of your time to help Los Rios get back on their feet. Drop them an email and let them know when you’re planning to be in the area.

Underwood Family Farms

But if you’re not in the mood for apples, head out to Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark — less than an hour’s drive from the Terraces. A literal cornucopia of fruit and vegetables is waiting for you in the pick-your-own fields. Bring home spinach and tomatoes for a fresh and healthy salad, raspberries and oranges bursting with juicy goodness, and, of course, a pumpkin or two. You can even choose among several types of fresh flowers to grace your table for holiday meals. Check here to see what is available during any given week. Although many of the usual fall events at the farm are off the schedule this year, there are still some fun things to do and see, like horse-drawn wagon rides, the farm animal viewing center, and the giant pumpkin patch.

After a day of apple picking in the California countryside, residents can enjoy returning home to the Old Town Pasadena neighborhood, where picturesque gardens and vibrant downtown life intersect the luxurious Terraces at the Ambassador Gardens’ condo and townhome community. Contact us today to schedule your private tour.