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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Capitol Reef Orchards

I really had fun picking the fruit in the orchards at Capitol Reef.  The only fruit ripe on our visit was apricots, but they have quite a variety of fruit grown at Capitol Reef.  I was actually suprised at how many different kinds of fruit they have at Capitol Reef:  apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, plums, almonds, mulberries, walnuts, nectarines, grapes, quinces, and pecans.  That's 13 different types of fruit & nuts! 

The only varieties open for picking though are the apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, and pears.  While I was there, I found this brochure at one of the orchards that had a lot more & better information then I could find on the NPS Website.  I scanned the brochure called "Capitol Reef Fruita Orchards" and have included it as the first two graphics on this blogpost.  If you're interested in information on the orchards, I'd recommend downloading the map and the narrative shown here.   *Or post a comment with your email address and I can email the PDF file to you- just note in the comment if you don't want your comment/address published and I won't.
Basically, some sort of fruit will be ripe at the orchards from mid-June to mid-October.  That's an awesome 4-months!  Cherries are available the last half of June.  Apricots, most of July.  Peaches and pears, most of August.  Apples are ripe September to mid-October.  For current info, you can call the Capitol Reef Fruit Hotline at (435) 425-3791.  Once connected, press 1, then 8.

I really like the orchards at Capitol Reef.  It was just awesome to walk in the trees and smell the ripe fruit.  We camped in the campground ($10/night), and had several orchards within 100 yards.  The rangers at the visitor center will tell you which orchards are open for picking.  Within the orchard, you can eat as much fruit as you want for no charge.  They also allow you to pick fruit to bring home.  The cost will be posted, along with a scale to weigh your fruit.  The NPS also has ladders and fruit pickers available for you to use.  Also, fruit that has fallen from the trees can be gathered at no charge.  The kids thought it was like a big easter-egg hunt.
Most of the fruit is $1 per pound, but if you're a volume picker you can get a bigger discount.  The cost at the apricot orchard we were at was $1/lb or $18 per bushel, or equivalent to about $0.50/lb. 
Nearest City: Torrey, UT
Location: See map above, or stop at Visitor Center
Time Needed: Variable
Difficulty: Easy
Kid Friendly: Yes
Additional Info:

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