Apple Harvest Guide
Toronto has an abundance of apple trees, and some local trees can produce over 500 pounds! The more we can pick and share, the more pies, sauces, cider and other delights can be enjoyed.
What they look like:
Apples can be red, yellow or green when ripe, or a combination of these colours. They are round, sometimes elongated, and at least two inches in diameter when mature – apples that are smaller are considered crabapples.
When they’re ready:
Late July to late October in Toronto
When to contact Not Far From The Tree to schedule a pick:
We’ll need some advance notice to schedule your pick, so please submit a fruit pick request 3-5 days before your fruit is ready. A good time to do this is when the seeds of the apples are brown or when the apples taste sweet and juicy. Apples on the outside of the tree and those that get more sun exposure will ripen first, so check apples on different parts of the tree for ripeness, including the lower branches.
Note: Falling apples are not necessarily an indication that they are ready to harvest.
You’ll know they’re ready to harvest when…
When the apple seeds have turned brown. We also recommend a taste test – depending on the variety, you can expect a sweet or sour taste. If you take a bite and the flesh is still tinted green (and your lips are puckering), it’s not ready yet. Also, a mature apple will detach from the tree easily when you lift the apple up and give it a twist.
Pictured above: Cut apples in half to tell when they’re ready. Brown seeds mean the fruit is ripe and ready to pick.
Our favourite picking techniques for apples is the eye to the sky or rolling method. Turn the apple upside down and give it a twist. If the fruit doesn’t come off the tree easily, hold the stem and twist the fruit. Apples that are too underripe may be difficult to pick. Apples bruise very easily when jostled so handle them with care, like you would eggs.
Apples tend to taste best a few days after they’ve been picked.
Apples can be stored for a long time at room temperature, and for even longer in cold storage.
Apples give off a gas called ethylene that causes nearby fruits and vegetables to ripen more quickly–keep this in mind when finding a place to store them. The saying ‘one bad apple spoils the bunch’ is true! A bruised, rotten, or damaged apple gives off more ethylene and can cause the rest of the group to ripen quickly and even rot. Sort through your lot of local fruit goodness and eat bruised or damaged apples first, or turn them into homemade apple sauce or baked goods!
Check out our Fruit Guide for harvesting details for other local edibles.