Fruit harvest is in full swing at Capitol Reef National Park. Home of the Park system’s oldest and largest fruit orchards, the delicious crops are available to the public for picking throughout the season.
What’s in season right now? Peaches! They are juicy, sweet, and beautifully ripened under the southern Utah summer sun. The Krueger Orchard, located along Highway 24 right through the heart of Capitol Reef, has Rosa peaches in spades right now. Come wander through the orchard and pick until you just can’t carry any more.
How to pick:
1) Call the Park’s Fruit Hotline to see what’s available right this very moment. (435) 425-3791, press 1, press 8.
2) Have cash on hand. You can bring your own bags to fill, but they usually have some available at the orchards. Find the open orchard. (9am-5pm.) Park and go on in. You’ll find fruit pickers and orchard ladders scattered around. Feel free to use them, but do make sure you read the posted safety info first. Follow directions on what to pick. Some of the orchards have several fruit varieties in them; the sign will alert you as to which fruits are available at the moment.
3) Look for a good tree; that is, one laden with totally yummy bounty. Carefully climb your ladder, use your fruit picker, and make sure your traveling companions are snapping pics of this decidedly unusual national park activity.
4) When ready to head out, stop at the honor system scale by the entrance. Fruit prices are generally $1/pound, $16/bushel. Weigh your bounty and slip the required money into the slot of the locked money box. *Bonus: all fruit you eat while still in the orchard is yours free and clear. So eat away!
5) Contemplate all the ways you can enjoy peaches. Mm… I vouch for their high yum factor.
Note: Red apples start tomorrow, the 24th, in the Jackson Orchard.