McDougal • Orchards

The best way to stay informed during the season.

Frequently Asked Questions and Advice for your visit

Where do I get directions?

During the week, park in the front parking lot or in one of the areas behind the buildings, then walk to the Farm Store for directions. The Farm Store is located at the front of the large barn with solar panels.

On weekends starting August 26th, 2023 you will need to make a reservation. Follow the signs as you enter the parking lot, and you will be met with an employee who can help you park and send you to the best place for picking! If you do not see an employee, park and walk into the Farm Store. 

Do NOT park on Hanson Ridge Road! Come into the driveway and we will help you find a place to park. 

How does U-Pick work?

Always get directions before heading directly into the orchards, either at the Farm Store during the week, or from the welcomer on the weekends. We charge by the pound for all of our u-pick fruit. If you bring your own re-usable bag for apples, you will get a 10 cent discount per pound (apples only)!  On the weekends, you can pay for your u-pick apples right in our orchards, but during the week you will need to visit the Farm Store after you finish picking. 

In the orchards, please follow the signs, pick in the marked rows only, and please stay out of restricted area. All u-pick apples are the same price, so feel free to mix them in the same bag. Do not mix other fruits in with the apples as the prices are different. 

What happens if I pick too many apples? 

You’ll learn to make applesauce! Whatever you pick is yours to purchase and take home to enjoy, so please be conscious of how much you are picking. Our employees can help you estimate the cost of different sized containers. If you are looking for less expensive cooking or cider apples, ask us about utilities (in the Farm Store). We cannot take back and re-sell any fruit picked by our customers.

Am I allowed to try an apple in the orchard? 

Yes! Especially if it is a variety that you haven’t tried before. We want to make sure you’re going home with a variety that you’ll enjoy eating! However, we do ask that you be respectful of our orchards and the hard work that goes into growing the fruit (please don’t leave a trail of half-eaten apples behind you). We also ask that you wash your hands after eating and before picking more fruit. Handwash stations will be provided in each orchard. 

Do I have to pay to park?

Nope! When you come to visit, you will notice that we do not charge any fees to come onto our property. The maze, fairy village, wagon rides (weekends only) and picnic areas are all offered free of charge for our paying customers. We do gladly accept donations for these extra features.

Can I just come for the maze? 

As mentioned above, the maze along with fairy village and more are free for our paying customers. If you are only interested in the maze, be sure to drop a few bucks into the donation bin or purchase a jug of cider or a few apples on your way out so we can continue to provide these activities without charging extra. 

What forms of payment do you accept

We accept cash as well as local checks, major credit cards and EBT/SNAP and WIC Vouchers.

What are your hours?

We open as soon as the first apple is ready for picking, usually early to mid August. From that day on, we are open 9AM to 5PM Saturday through Wednesday, and 9AM to 6PM Thursday and Friday until the end of October or early November (depending on when we run out of fruit). Check the home page of this website, our Facebook page, or give us a call to stay updated.

Capt Jack’s Donut Shack is only open weekends and holidays Labor Day weekend through Indigenous Peoples Day weekend and possibly to the end of October from 9:00 – 5:00.
You can find bags of donuts in the farm store during the week unless we sell out.

When should I come to avoid a crowd?

Come during the week! On Thursdays and Fridays we stay open a little later, so you might be able to make it after work. If you come on a weekend, try to get here early to beat the crowds and be sure to make a reservation. Our busiest season is the last two weeks in September and the first two weeks in October. Before or after that we shouldn’t have such huge crowds. If you really want the orchards all to yourself, wait for a rainy day and suit up in your ponchos and boots, we’re open rain or shine! 

Why are your apples more expensive than the ones in the grocery store?

By visiting us you are supporting a family owned business and small-scale local agriculture. At our farm you will be able to enjoy a beautiful Fall day in our meticulously groomed orchards, snapping that perfect selfie in the flower patch. When you leave our orchard, you are taking home much more than fruit, you are taking memories.

Can I bring my dog? 

It’s best to leave your pup at home. Dogs are NOT allowed in the buildings or in the orchards for food safety reasons. If you bring your pup they will have to stay in the car if you enter one of our orchards, so for their comfort it’s best to leave them home. Service dogs are allowed.

Do you allow Weddings, Birthday Parties, School Tours, Groups, etc.

Yes, we do! Please see Activities for more information.

What is the white film on the apples?

The whitish film you may find on some apples is called bloom. It is made up of various natural yeasts and waxes. You should always shine your apple before eating to wipe off dust or other environmental residues that may have settled on it. 

What are your growing practices?

We practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which is an environmentally sensitive, common sense approach to controlling and preventing damage from pests such as insects, plant diseases, weeds and more.

IPM focuses on identifying and monitoring pests and applying an appropriate control method, which can be mechanical (pulling weeds by hand), cultural (rotating crops for soil health) or chemical (spraying organic or synthetic pesticides). We spend a lot of time walking around the orchards to identify pests and determine if they meet a threshold that merits a response.

We raised our family in these orchards, so we are extremely conscious about what we use and always look for the option with the least possible hazard to people, property and the environment. We do not want to cause any damage to the bees or other beneficials that share our orchards. If you have specific allergies or further questions about our practices, feel free to come in and talk with us!
Pests and diseases