Apple Hill Hidden Gems: Part 5

High Hill Ranch feels fun and festive…and well…very crowded. It’s a cross between a County Fair and the Renaissance Faire, sans the rides and 4-H exhibits. They do have Pony Rides for the kids and a small lake for Trout fishing, so this is fun.

And yes…the Farm-to-Table movement is right here folks!

The local orchards, farms, beekeepers, bakers, vintners, and brewers are all locals using the bounty of the local produce and agricultural products.

Seeking the elusive and legendary Strawberry and Rhubarb pie?  You’ll find it here.

Want to try your first Apple Dumpling? You’ll find them here.

Your friends and you want to pick your own fruit and try canning and pie making en masse?

Yep…you can pick as many pecks of apples, peaches, and plums as you can fit in your car’s trunk. And you’ll find handy gadgets for peeling, coring, slicing, canning, flavoring, and storing your baked and canned goods. It’s a bonanza of down-home delight!

Apple Hill Ranch is smack-dab right in the middle of an apple orchard.

No kidding. Parking attendants in Apple Hill T-Shirts help you find parking for your car. They’ll point you down the rows for parking in between the apple trees. Lacking signs indicating level, row, and space numbering, finding your way back to your car can be tricky. Reverse engineer your urban parking-garage skills into landmark echolocation so you can find your way back to your later.

The Saturday we were there, in mid-September, the weather was perfect, the sun was out, but not too hot, and the crowds were out enjoying all of this at High Hill Ranch. The scent of meat on the grill, ripe fruit on display, and the earthy smell of the apple orchard this location is plunked right in the middle of, entices your appetite and is pure nostalgia.

We spent about an hour there, my husband and another couple with us tried the barbeque and wolfed it down. There are picnic benches near the barbeque stands, so you don’t have to stand and eat your fare. I tasted a bit of the meat and it was great!

We were enjoying the varieties of activities and goods for sale, with me buying some Free Stone Peaches. Six pounds of them came home with me. The guys each got a beer and I had some Peach-Leaf tea that was unusual and fragrant. However, after an hour, we were ready to go.  The crowds, while stimulating when I’m in the mood for festivals, was unfortunately annoying.

But hey, no harm, no foul. We had free parking and we got out easily and on to our next desiantion. Would we got back? If we had a group with kids, absolutely! If I had a group with people who fondly remember their county fairs and 4-H lambs, cows, and pigs…you bet!

High Hill Ranch on Apple Hill Farm is located Northeast of the San Francisco Bay Area in California’s El Dorado County.

Pros:

Many different storefronts and vendors in one location.  Farm fresh fruit and baked goods.  Well behaved pets on leashes are welcome. Picnic tables near the food stands.  Many activities for your family include:

  • Apple picking.
  • Fishing for trout.
  • Pony rides for kids.
  • Hayride Tours of their apple orchard.
  • School field trips can be arranged.
  • Wine tasting events.
  • A pumpkin patch.
  • Largest craft show in the Apple Hill area!

Unusual honey flavors from local hives: Barbecue, burger, and sausages: A festival atmosphere: Unusual Heirloom apple & fruit varieties: Gift shops with charming and rustic items and kitchen tools: Home canning supplies and equipment:  Bulk purchases of fresh fruit, vegetables, and berries in season. Free-Stone Peaches! Parking is free and well organized, even if it is deep inside an apple orchard repurposed to accommodate visitor parking.

Cons:

Feels very commercial like the Renaissance Faire. Noisy and very crowded. Is the newest destination for families, so it tends to have kids running all over…sometimes without parents trailing after them. Not intimate in the slightest. Almost no gluten-free options and absolutely no no-sugar added options. If you’re diabetic, doing Paleo, or watching your carb intake, you will have practically no food or drink options.  Gravelly and dusty walkways and roads everywhere.

 

Apple Hill Farm Hours

Open Daily

August 18th – December 24th 2018

Monday – Friday 8am-5pm

Saturday – Sunday 7am-6pm

 

High Hill Ranch at Apple Hill Farm Address

2901 High Hill Rd

Placerville, CA 95667

 

Directions

From Sacramento take HWY 50 East towards Placerville.

Take the Carson Rd Exit off of HWY 50E on the left.

Turn left on Carson Rd.

We are less than a 1/2 mile down Carson Rd.

If you reach Apple Mountain Golf Course, you are almost there!

Keep going past the stop sign.

Look for the long wooden fence and turn right at High Hill Rd.

* On busy weekends in October please use exit 54.