U-Pick Season: bountiful Arizona

A basket of peppers from Apple Annie's Produce & PumpkinsIf you see this picture and think it can only come from the Midwest, you're in for a surprise. This produce was grown in Arizona.

What? Arizona?

You might think that the state can only grow cactus, but you'd be wrong.  Fortunately, you can get lots more in Cochise County. It's been dubbed "Arizona's Heartland" because of the bounty it produces each summer.

Summer begins officially on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Phoenix and Tucson are heating up, but in southeastern Arizona, it’s a bit cooler. And that’s good news for fruits and vegetables. They thrive in the higher elevation and rich soil of Willcox. Peaches are the first u-pick crop that will be available. You can get everything from seasonal fruits and vegetables – everything from apples to zucchini – in Willcox!

U-Pick News for 2012

  • Apple Annie’s will open on June 30. Their burger barn and fudge shop will be open. Apple Annie’s staff told me they think peaches will be ready for picking around July 10.
  • Learn baking and canning basics. The folks at Apple Annie’s will hold pie baking and canning classes this summer. The first class, baking peach pies, will take place on July 24. Other class dates are still being determined.
  • Brown’s Orchard says they will open around August 18. Their apple crop was affected by frost, so they’re not sure they’ll have a ton of fruit for picking. But they will buy apples from their neighbors to make cider. That means their cider bar will be open – this is a bar you can take the kids to!
  • Lambs graze on-site at Brown’s Orchard, which is a completely organic farm. They have lamb by the cut available for purchase.
  • The fall corn maze at Apple Annie’s will celebrate Arizona’s 2012 Centennial. (Aerial photographs of the field will be available later in the year.)

Want more info on where to find fresh u-pick fruits and vegetables? Check the Willcox Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture’s U-Pick directory to learn more.

P.S. Another thing Arizona grows? Grapes! The wine industry is really growing. Click these links to learn more about Cochise County Vineyards and Wine Tasting Rooms.