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Tis the season for all things apple

Bite into farm-fresh produce this season. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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The action of placing a bright, shiny, red apple on a teacher's desk is the symbolic epitome of the beginning of the academic year. It's rumored that this version of nature's candy has something to do with wisdom, but I think we gift our educators with it because it is literally the season. School begins (or in some cases is delayed as teachers advocate for fair wages) and the apple trees are heavy with ripe fruit. Grainy and red, crisp and green, apples come all sorts of ways and can be crafted in a plethora of sweet treats: apple butter, apple slices, apple sauce and America's favorite, apple pie. Though there are no longer any U-pick orchards locally, here are a few apple orchards to get the freshest produce possible. If you feel like making a little adventure out of things, I've included a few spaces that require more of a drive.

Terry's Berries was once the exclusive spot to score apples gathered by your own two hands. Now under new ownership and branded as Wild Hare Organics, this opportunity is no longer available, but they still have a farm stand stocked full with fresh produce, all year round that is well worth the short sprint. 4520 River Road E., Tacoma,

Lattin's Country Cider Mill and Farm in Olympia isn't a U-pick facility but has a plethora of harvest available for purchase all year long and loads of fun for the kids. The Apple Festival is swiftly approaching, which means sips of fresh apple cider, tractor drawn wagon rides and farm animals eager for little fingers to pet them. Find them on Facebook for produce availability and event details as they are announced. 9402 Rich Rd. SE, Olympia

Curran Apple Orchard is a whimsical sight to see. During the summer they host outdoor concerts and close the season out with a cider squeeze. Aside from that, the park is meant as more of an outdoor space to enjoy the trees for birthday parties, casual strolls and educational opportunities more than it is to dive into the bounty, though it's my understanding that there are opportunities to enjoy the fruit on site. 3920 Grandview Dr. W., University Place,

For the ultimate U-pick adventure, buckle up and head to Jones Creek Farms in Sedro Woolley. U-pick season is in full effect from now until about October. Besides over 100 varieties of apples, they also have Asian pears, squash and pumpkins available. 32260 Burrese Rd., Sedro Woolley,

BelleWood Acres in Bellingham has a U-pick season that lasts until early November. Hop aboard the Apple Bin Express and hitch a ride to their epic orchard. Boasting 25,000 trees, BelleWood is one of the largest apple orchards in western Washington. Find Gravenstein, Jonagold, McIntosh and more, plus my personal favorite, Honeycrisp. 6140 Guide Meridian Rd., Bellingham,

Honeycrisp and Jonagold abound at The Farm at Swan's Trail. Apples ought to be ready about mid-September according to the website. Check them out on Instagram and Facebook for updates. Aside from the fruit, this locale lures you and the littles in with a petting farm, live duck races, a pig show and wagon rides. Once the fall season is in full effect, they add even more festivities for those looking for an adventure-fueled pumpkin patch visit. 7301 Rivershore Rd., Snohomish,

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