“An orchard in the desert? In Las Vegas? Yup: Gilcrease Orchard. You’ll have to pick in the heat of summer to get apples, but it is a true u-pick farm and orchard with veggies and fruits from spring through fall. Get on the mailing list to know what’s in season in the desert and be aware that there are limited hours, typically 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.” —julie gilmore
“Two Sisters U-Pick Apricots, in Fresno, California, provides the ladders, buckets, and bags for transporting all your freshly picked goodies home. I suggest a clean pair of shoes to go home in, too. The season usually starts around Memorial Day. I make homemade jam every year!” —mary stewart
“My favorite spot to pick berries is Mortimer Farms in Dewey, Arizona. I love the homemade pies and other items they have in addition to the juicy berries.” —sheri hazen
“For all kinds of yummy apple goodies, go to Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville, California. The family-oriented orchard is run by a long-time Watsonville family. It has a great bakery with, of course, delicious apple pies, plus fresh-pressed apple juice, and even slushies! The ranch is an all-around great place to visit.” —dorothy delucchi
“Detering Orchards in Harrisburg, Oregon, is a great destination for u-pick produce: Cherries are at their prime in early summer, blueberries abound in July, peaches peak in August, and pears and pumpkins are available to pick in the fall. Just a short drive from Eugene, you’ll feel right at home on the farm, which has activities for the whole family. Kids love swinging on the playground, feeding the goats, or shooting apples that are past their prime into the cow pasture with the “apple blaster” (a bungee cord slingshot rigged between two trees). Adults can shop for fresh produce. Local band Spence Palermo is often featured as entertainment during autumn weekends.” —jennie daniels
“We love going to Kiyokawa Family Orchards in Parkdale, Oregon, for freshly picked apples and pears. We have gone several times, and on each visit the staff is very helpful. It’s well worth the drive from Portland.” —barbara kochevar
“My family loves Apple Annie’s Orchard in Willcox, Arizona. They have a wide variety of apples, plus breakfast and lunch to purchase on the weekends. If you go in late summer or early fall, you may be lucky enough to find Asian pears still available to pick. They also have a pumpkin patch nearby to visit in the fall, so you can get your apples and pumpkins in one trip, and there are vegetable gardens where you can pick your own or buy them freshly harvested. The bakery tempts you to take home a fresh-baked pie and other goodies, or buy a slice to enjoy there. The orchard also sells a variety of bottled and jarred products such as jams and syrups made from their produce. Best of all, Willcox is at a somewhat higher elevation than much of southern Arizona, so it’s always a bit cooler there.” —mary durham-pflibsen
What's your favorite restaurant in the West for comfort food, and why? Email us at email@example.com. You may be quoted in a future issue.