Friday, October 30, 2020

Pine-O-Mine Ranch #41 A Small but Charming U-Pick Apple Farm

2620 Carson Rd.
Placerville, CA 95667

(530) 344-2112

Pine-O-Mine Ranch is among a collection of 50+ farms that make up the Apple Hill Grower's Association- A destination visited by thousands of apple lovers every Fall.

When visiting the hill, apple picking is always on the list of things to do.  Me and my kids thoroughly enjoy hunting for and tasting apples.  Nothing is as juicy as a fresh-picked apple and in most cases, apples at the grocery will never compare. When biting into fresh-picked apples, it is so fresh that apple juice trickles down your arms.  These apples, along with all the other apples on the hill, are notorious for making some of the best apple cider ever.

In addition to the freshest apples, I love showing the kids where our food comes from and how much work farmers put into nourishing people.  

Usually, we love to pick our apples at Denver Dan's #14, but this year we were looking for a new experience.  That's when we came to Pine-O-Mine.  

If you're a parent like me, you'll love Pine-O-Mine because it's a fun-yet-educational place to take the family.

We entered the farm and drove a little way down before we were met with a bright red barn lined with apple trees and a pumpkin patch.  If you've visited High Hill Ranch, this farm will be small in comparison, but don't be fooled: it has a lot of charm.

The farm has several of the most popular varieties of apples to pick from- Fuji, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious & Red Delicious.  You grab a bag from the barn and return to get them weighed after you've picked your apples. 

After a fun time hunting for apples, me and my family grabbed a bag of caramel corn from the tent that we overhead people raving about.  The caramel corn was delicious and kind of took me back to my childhood, reminding me of Cracker Jacks.  Not only was the caramel corn delicious, it was sold by passionate people from a family-owned business inspired by their grandma's recipe.

The farm also has hot food brought to you by Brawt Envy.  Their sausages were fresh, juicy, and delicious.  The guys that made our food were down to earth and made our experience much more enjoyable.  

In accompaniment, we had the mandatory caramel apple milkshake, which never fails.  Next time I have to get the Apple Pie Milkshake, which is an apple milkshake with a piece of pie added in.  A worker told me how good it was and I was sold at that moment.

The farm has great scenery, food, dessert, nice people, pumpkins, U-Pick apples, photo opportunities, scenery and a great and relaxing environment.  From now on, it will be added to our list of farms to visit during our trips to Apple Hill. 

-Apple Picking is all about timing and weather.  Call the farm to inquire about availability and best time to pick apples.  Their orchard is on the smaller side and can run out after some time.
-Masks and safety enforced 
-Limited selection of apple goods inside barn.  Frozen pies, jerky, alcoholic beverages, apple cider & nuts available for purchase.
-plenty of parking available
-various food trucks available depending on availability
-cute pumpkin patch
-great place for photo shoots
-limited picnic tables 
-Porta Potties and hand washing station available 
-If you drive all the way to the barn, there might be parking available, depending on how busy it is

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Andelin Farm- A Charming, U-Pick, Family Owned Farm that provides Lots of Family Fun in the Fall and Spring

8100 Pyramid Way
Sparks, NV 89436

(775) 530-8032

During the pandemic, it's places like Andelin Farm that me and my family have come to appreciate even more, allowing for my family's fall traditions to carry on in a safe and fun way.

Anyone that visits the farm will tell you that it is a well kept, well thought out, and a hardworking farm.  During the pandemic, they were not phased, adapting to the changes in the most responsible and thoughtful way- masks enforced, hand sanitizer stations available throughout the farm, wipe-downs, hand wash stations, contact-free payment, operating at a limited capacity, and more.  

I visited another farm recently, about an hour away, and they didn't have any information on safety measures on their website, nor did they enforce mask-wearing when I pulled up on the property.  With too many people that were not distanced, with no masks, me and my family felt unsafe and turned around immediately toward home.  We are thankful to be able to go back home to Andelin Farm, a place we can safely enjoy without minimal worries.

One of the great things about the farm is that it is constantly thinking up ways to improve on their guests' experiences.  This year, instead of just taking some attractions away (some didn't allow for social distancing), they thought of some new activities to implement to the farm.  The gemstone mining sluice and chick experience are new additions to the farm.  They've also added some shade tents for relief from the sun and took a gamble with growing sunflowers for a U-Pick experience.

A couple of years ago, me and my family were one of the last families on the farm and time slipped by so fast because of all the fun our little kids were having.  We didn't have a chance to ride the hayride around the farm and took a chance and asked the worker if we could ride.  He was nice and said he would ask for us.  The owner, Cameron, came out with a smile on his face and was more than happy to take us around.  He gave us a little history about the farm and chatted with us a bit.  There's nothing more special than the owner actively interacting with his guests to make sure that they have a good time, even at closing.  Cameron is a representation of what the farm has to offer. 

We will always come back to the farm every year and always recommend it to family and friends. 

RATES (as of 10.2.2021.  Check their main website for the latest rates)

*Included in a per-person admission (2yrs. and younger free). 
2021 Rates: Online $12 and $14 at the farm.  
Admission rates vary, check website for updated rates.
-U-Pick Pumpkin Patch
-Wagon Rides
-Mini Zip Lines for Kids
-barrel train ride
-hamster wheel
 -straw bale maze
-bunny hop
-petting zoo (goats, sheep, chickens) (feed available for purchase)
-access to u-pick pumpkin patch
-chick experience 
-duck races (water pumps)
-lasso activity
-pumpkin shooters (slingshot and corn kernels)
-barn slide 
-kickball enclosure

Offered at an additional charge:
-pony rides (currently $7)
-corn creepers (haunted house in a corn field)
-zombie paintball
-5 acre corn maze (open Wednesdays-Saturdays 10am-10pm) 
Bonus nights for maze, Friday & Saturday, November 5 & 6, 2021. $7 Online $9 at farm
-gem mining bags ($5-$25 depending on size of bag)
-Corn Cannon - shoots corn cobs. 2 shots for $1.  Offered Saturdays only.
-U-Pick Sunflowers
-Farm Store
Food-Trailers - Hot Food & Apple Cider Slushie

-farm open early April to end of April, in spring and  late September-end of October for fall
-Weather at the farm can vary.  Check the weather before your visit to plan and dress accordingly. I always like to put sunblock on the kiddos, in any case during the day.
-all the workers are nice on the farm
-If you're looking to pick pumpkins, make sure you head out there early to mid October to catch them while they're still on the vine.  
-There are pre-picked pumpkins & Gourds (lots of varieties) at the entrance for purchase for people that are not interested in entering the farm
-Hot Food & Apple Slushies available
-They recently turned their barn into a farm store with homemade goods and crafts including - jams, mixes, hot sauces, snacks like kettle corn, sweet caramel nuggets, trail mix, yogurt pretzels, andelin t-shirts, sweaters, hats, jewelry soaps, and more.
-they always have a random vendor selling goods
-Cold drinks and ice cream available for cheap
-ideal for field trips
Private group tours available
-available for booking events
-the farm is thoroughly loved by younger kids, but adults can also have a good time with photo opportunities around the farm-pumpkin patch, cutouts, barn, and adult horse rides.  Alternatively, adults without kids can skip the pumpkin patch farm area and opt for their separate Halloween festivities- corn maze, corn creepers, zombie paintball
In the fall, they have a farm scene investigation book for the corn maze where you get to solve a mystery. 
-if you catch them at the right time, there's a line of fall trees in front of their house that make for nice pictures, especially when the leaves have changed
-farm produce available depending on availability- tomatoes were available during my visit.
-You will be walking on dirt all around the farm.  Don't forget to wear proper footwear.

Current Rates for Spring Festival 2021

Spring Festival-Weekdays

Spring Festival-Saturdays

Goat Bottle Feeding Experience

Lamb Bottle Feeding Experience

Calf Bottle Feeding Experience

Spring 2021 Festival Season Pass

Egg Hunt 4/7-4/10

Pony Ride/Horse Ride 

Private Tours- Spring 2021

Birthday Package- Party Pavilion
Sold Out for Spring 2021

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

El Dorado Orchards - Beat the Crowds, Have a Picnic, and Take A Scenic Train Ride

2881 North Canyon Rd.
Camino, CA 95709

(530) 642-1222

*Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the Fall Season 
*Open the day after Thanksgiving every Friday, Saturday & Sunday for U-Pick Christmas Trees
*Call to double check hours

When I first moved to Reno five years ago, it didn't take long to learn about Reno's passion toward living and celebrating the seasons and holidays.  

It was fall some years ago and I was feeling the fall vibes, admiring the majestic scenery all around and found myself searching for things to do during the fall in Reno.  Sure enough, Google knew exactly what I was looking for and steered me in the right direction.

Along with many other suggestions came Apple Hill (2 hr scenic drive from Reno).  Apple Hill, a collection of 50+ farms in Placerville, CA, was a place that sounded like Disneyland to me, having all the elements needed for a good time.  

I'm a sucker for scenery, road trips, farms, and apple goods- all of which I would be getting if I chose to embark on this trip.  I took the leap hoping to create some long-lasting memories and traditions for me and my family.  

Being a mother of three, I always do as much planning as I can ahead of time to make trips run smoothly.  I researched which farms were ideal for kids.  El Dorado came up as one of the many, offering face paint, apple goods, a craft fair, and a scenic train ride.

El Dorado did not disappoint.  On our first visit, my kids got face paint from a nice young lady and took a scenic train ride around two ponds lined with beautiful fall foliage.  Although the train ride was not as long as the family hoped for it to be, we still ride it every season because it is just that special.

The small-yet-quaint farm is right next to two of the busiest farms- BOA Vista and  High Hill Ranch- and is nestled away from the crowds.  If you're looking for an ideal spot for having a picnic, a fun place to relax while still being able to shop, and some apple goods to enjoy, I'd highly recommend El Dorado Orchards.  

-Family Owned 
-Hot Dogs and Hot Sandwiches with chips $6-$11
-Train rides currently $5
-El Dorado is a small farm but it packs a punch. It has a craft fair, hot lunch, apple goods, face paint, and train ride.
-The scenery alone can keep me coming back for more  
-pies, brownies, caramel apples, cookies, cider, apple cider milkshakes, & jams and butters available but no donuts.  Visit BOA Vista Orchards, a min away up the street for some delicious apple goods, including donuts and fritters. 
-plenty of tables and benches on grass with tall trees for shade. Ideal for picnics.
-restrooms available
-Plenty of parking