There’s nothing like biting into a juicy apple that you picked right off the tree just seconds before.

Whether you’re looking to pick a bushel of your favourite apples, grab the perfect pumpkin for your porch, or simply looking for the next great Instagram shot, a day at Apple Land Station is a great plan.

Fall Perfection at Apple Land

Autumn is my favourite time of year (yeah, I’m basic, get over it). The leaves are beautiful as they change colour and the weather is finally bearable. Add apple picking, corn mazes, and pumpkin hunting, and I’m happy as can be. Thankfully, Apple Land Station offers all of that and more!

Mutsu/Crispin apples ready for the picking. Photo by Laura Thorne.
Mutsu/Crispin apples ready for the picking. Photo by Laura Thorne.

Located 15 KM east of downtown London at 329 Richmond St, Thorndale, the short drive to Apple Land is worth it. This family-friendly farm provides ample opportunities for fun, whether you’re chasing your kids up the giant sand mountain, getting lost with your friends in the corn maze, or just picking some delicious apples.

From Farm to Attraction

Apple Land is a first-generation farm with their first apples harvested in 1986, which they sold from a picnic table. In the last 32 years, they’ve expanded to a bit of an agri-tourism empire.

Don’t miss out on the ample photo opportunities in the pumpkin patch. Photo by Laura Thorne.
Don’t miss out on the ample photo opportunities in the pumpkin patch. Photo by Laura Thorne.

I’ve been going to Apple Land Station my entire life. When I was a kid, you carried around a wooden bushel basket and chose your favourite varieties to pick before weighing your apples on your way out. You got a ride in the wagon if it was available, waved at the farm animals, and maybe you picked up a pumpkin at the store.

Nowadays, you pre-purchase your preferred size bag (10lb or 20lb), however, the options for activities at the farm are far more plentiful.

When you pay the $8 admission, you get your ticket for the train that will take you out (and back) from the orchard, pumpkin patch, and corn maze. The train is a scale replica of an 1850 L-Train, with colourful canopied wagons behind it.

Catch the train from Apple Land’s orchards back to your car with your heavy bags of apples. Photo by Laura Thorne.
Catch the train from Apple Land’s orchards back to your car with your heavy bags of apples. Photo by Laura Thorne.

Say hello to the farm animals (horses and sheep and chickens, oh my!) and learn little-known facts about the animals. Head over to get lost in the corn maze or, for those with really little ones, try the Toddler Maze instead. Pose for a photo in the pumpkin patch and then choose one to bring home to carve.

There is plenty to do for those with young’uns or those who are just young at heart.

Bringing the City to the Farm

Agricultural tourism, or “agri-tourism,” has boomed in the London region in recent years. Farms such as Apple Land, Kustermans Family FarmClovermead Adventure Farm, and Steed and Company Lavender Farm have expanded their offerings from agricultural-based only to a combination of farm, educational activities, and family fun.

Teamwork makes the dream work: A young girl sits on her dad’s shoulders to reach the highest apples. Photo by Laura Thorne.
Teamwork makes the dream work: A young girl sits on her dad’s shoulders to reach the highest apples. Photo by Laura Thorne.

Many of these attractions, including Apple Land, aim to provide city dwellers, especially children, with a better sense of where their food comes from and the importance of agriculture. In addition to education and community connection, the added activities provide revenue streams that can offset the high expense of running an agricultural venture and provide cushioning for years when there is a bad harvest or unpredictable weather.

Eye to the Sky

With so many options, the core of the place — the apples — can get lost in the mix. If you are taking advantage of picking your own apples, be sure to check the apple report before you head out to make sure the variety you want is available. You can also pick up a pre-picked bag at their store if you’d prefer.

Courtland, Gala, Empire, McIntosh, Granny Smith – there are over 15 varieties available at Apple Land Station throughout the season. Photo by Laura Thorne.
Courtland, Gala, Empire, McIntosh, Granny Smith – there are over 15 varieties available at Apple Land Station throughout the season. Photo by Laura Thorne.

When you take the train out to the orchard, the conductor will direct you where to go and what areas are the most fruitful that day. As you pick, don’t forget the mantra “eye to the sky.” Lift the bottom or “eye” of the apple upwards to easily remove it from the branch without damaging the tree.

Follow Your Nose

A trip to Apple Land wouldn’t be complete without a stop in at their store. Filled with sweet treats like homemade fudge, toys, and home decor, the store is also the location of their bakery.

Pumpkins sit ready to go home next to the Apple Land Station store. Photo by Laura Thorne.
Pumpkins sit ready to go home next to the Apple Land Station store. Photo by Laura Thorne.

Enjoy the smell of freshly baked apple pies, breads, crumbles, and turnovers fill the space as you shop but be warned — it’s hard to resist.

Enjoy your ideal fall day at Apple Land Station!

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