Raven Hill Orchard
|Raven Hill Orchard is closed as of December 2012. It may reopen in Fall, 2013 under new ownership. See this facebook account for more information.|
Information below pertains to the "old" Raven Hill Orchard and not the "new" Crown Ranch Orchards.
Picking apples in Julian is one of the highlights of fall time in San Diego and the surrounding areas. There are 4 or 5 u-pick apple orchards in Julian; click to read more:
- Raven Hill Orchard at 1284 Julian Orchards Drive (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Apples and Art Orchard at 1052 Julian Orchards Drive (email@example.com)
About Raven Hill Orchard
This orchard is the largest U-pick apple orchard in Julian. It has 8000 dwarf apple trees organized into 50 rows. There are seven varieties of apples: Empire, Gala, Jonathans, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Gravenstein, and Pippin. Each row is numbered and labeled with the type of apples found within.
Though, deciphering the sun-faded characters is a puzzle in itself. Shown to the right is "GD" which indicates "Golden Delicious". There's also JON for Jonathans; EMP is for Emipire; GRA is for Gravenstein; and more. Pippins are planted along the perimeter of the orchard.
In many respects, this is exactly what people imagine picking apples is all about: rows and rows of apple trees - so many that they litter the ground!
There is an on-site well so the trees are irrigated with natural, underground, spring water.
Raven Hill Orchard is an organic orchard meaning that pesticides are not used. When picking apples, be sure to check for worm holes.
Because these are dwarf apple trees, children can easily reach the apples and take them off the branches themselves. Ladders, stilts, and apple pickers (basket at the end of a long stick) are not needed.
Be kind to the tree: take the apple but do not take the stem, branch, or leaves attached to the apple. This delicate section of the tree (called a spur) can produce another fruit next year. But if you yank off the spur, it will be lost forever.
About the Owners
Since 2005, Raven Hill Orchard is owned by the Brady brothers. Main spokes person, Patrick Brady, is a mix of Harley Davidson and Irish Charm. He is described as a man of all seasons. In addition to tending to the apple trees, he is a poet and an accomplished sculpturist. You can see some of his creations at the front entrance to the orchard.
On a busy day, the owners will be brisk and all business. However, on a slow day, take a moment to chat with Patrick Brady as he is quite a character to behold. He sees himself not as owner but as "steward" of the orchard and strives to develop a "oneness and harmony with the environment".
Location, Price, Parking, Facilities, and Details.
As you approach Julian from San Diego, be sure to enjoy the winding roads shaded by over-hanging trees. Raven Hill Orchard is surrounded by picturesque farmland and rolling hills. In late autumn, the landscape is transformed into gold with shades of brown and yellow.
Parking: Free, on-site parking is available. It can get quite busy, so you may need to be patient. Someone is sure to leave and give you will have a chance to park and start picking apples. Avoid parking in the wrong side of the road which is designated for the wineries across and down the road.
Price: After you park your car, enter the orchard and purchase an empty bag for $10. After that, you are free to harvest the bounty. As Mr Brady says, "fill er up".
For those who like to wander up and down every row, expect to spend over an hour picking and tasting apples. For those who are more direct, a bag can be easily filled in 10 minutes.
Hours of Operation: Raven Hill Orchard offers U-pick apples on a drop-in basis: which is to say, no reservations are needed. Early in the season the apples may not quite be ripe. Late in the season, the apples may be beyond their prime. Some years, the crop is poor due to an untimely frost. Although the orchard is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, it would be wise to call and determine the conditions before going.
Facilities: No picnic tables or chairs available, though there are some old farm equipment which will delight children. Porta-potties available on site.
Raven Hill Orchard
1284 Julian Orchards Drive
P.O. Box 981
Julian, CA 92036
- picking apples at the Apples & Art Orchard
- Farmer's Markets in San Diego
- strawberry picking in Carlsbad
- more fun stuff
After picking apples, you can enjoy the attractions in the quaint city of Julian: