Do you know the concept of free picking? It consist of picking by yourself your own fruits, flowers or vegetables in an orchard or vegetable garden open especially by a producer. Free picking is quite common in Alsace and it is therefore very easy to find farms where to directly pick your fruits and vegetables. Some of them are organic, some are not; there is no rule of thumb.
This is a nice concept, as you will buy cheaper fruits and vegetables (you buy them directly, without having to pay for the price of picking), but you will also spend an excellent time outside, alone, with friends or family. Children love it too! It’s also very interesting to understand local and seasonal fruits and vegetables. No, it is not possible to pick strawberries in September; it’s too late! You will have to wait until next summer. However, Fall is the time for apples!
I went free apple picking at La Pommeraie, a farm of the Gsell family, located in Sigolsheim (in the Valley of Kaysersberg) and offering free picking in summer (red fruits) and during fall (apples). Depending on the times, you will find different varieties of apples. Someone is here to guide you on which kind to choose depending on what you want to do with it (to eat, to make compote, for tarts…) and to show you where are the corresponding rows in the orchard. It is then time to pick your apples, with a small cart and a cardboard. The experience is pleasant. It’s a very simple movement, but I realized I had barely ever done it! You will then weigh your harvest and pay.
Please note that farms have to pick up tons of apples fallen on the ground (and that rot very quickly) because of harvesters that are a bit too hasty: there is no need to pull like a brute or to shake the apple tree; you just have to hold the apple in one hand, the branch in the other and to tilt the apple upwards. And that’s it!
Unfortunately, I cannot give you all the addresses to do free picking in Alsace (they vary with seasons and some are only open in summer), but you should be able to easily find one not far from you with a simple Internet search or by asking the Tourist Office of the town where you are staying.
- Picking myself seasonal fruits
- Buying good products at a reasonable price
- Simply being in the orchard
I liked a little less
- I would have liked to pick apples for a longer period of time: it goes by (too) quickly to pick apples for your own consumption!
My pictures of free apple picking
You will find here the times for free apple picking at La Pommeraie.
The address of the farm La Pommeraie is as follows: D10, 68240 Sigolsheim. You will see signs on the road indicating the orchards for free picking. Sigolsheim is located:
- 11 km from Colmar (about 20 minutes drive)
- 53 km from Mulhouse (about 40 minutes drive)
- 76 km from Strasbourg (about 1h drive)
By public transport
It is not possible. :-(