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Gregory D. Cook

Apple trees, with limbs heavily laden with fruit, stretch out toward the horizon at Knaus Apple Ranch in Tehachapi.

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These fresh Galas for sale at the Bakersfield Certified Farmers Market, represent a fall tradition for many Bakersfield residents.

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John Kolesar, owner of Kolesar’s Apples, has been tending his Tehachapi orchard for nearly 35 years.

The autumn apple harvest is an important part of Kern County’s history. For generations, the people of Bakersfield would travel to local farms or to Tehachapi to pick the apples they would eat, can and bake with for the rest of the year. And with the rising trend of eating local and organic foods, finding apples this season has become even more significant. Apple season started in September and continues until mid-November.

Here are some places you can go in Kern County to pick that ripe apple.

RB Family Orchard

Richard and Barbara Tieskoetter’s Family Orchard has been around for 37 years and is known for its delicious fresh apple cider, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The Tieskoetters take in local fruit to sell and to use for their cider. No need to pick the apples — they have them all ready.

RB is one of the few places to get apple cider with no preservatives and unpasteurized. They use a blend of apples, depending on which is ripest, resulting in flavor changes.

People come from a day of picking at other farms to eat lunch at RB’s, said Barbara Tieskoetter.

“They’re comfortable here.”

For more information, go to www.rborchard.com.

Kolesars’ Apples
Highline Road and Casey Drive in Tehachapi

Kolesars’ Apples, which has been around for the past 35 years, has a simple pick-your-own system where you can collect your own apples, and pay by the bucket. They have seven varieties of apples and two varieties of cherries. John Kolesar said that apple picking has created an agro-tourism, where it’s less about the apples, and more about the fun family activity.

“People want the experience” of picking their own food, said John.

Kolesars’ Apples is open for business Friday to Sunday.

Pulford AppleTree Orchard
19440 Highline Rd. in Tehachapi

Pulford AppleTree Orchard is a larger family-owned orchard that has been in business for more than 35 years, and in Tehachapi for 20 years.

They boast 15 different varieties of apple, apple cider, apple butter and other apple treats. And they pick apples for you.

Pulford orchard staff aims to make the farm a popular place to hang out and have a picnic, Andrew Pulford said.

“It’s about the experience,” he said. “We make this a destination spot.”

People come from throughout California and beyond to taste their apples. Pulford AppleTree Orchard is open daily.

For more information, visit pulfordappletreeorchard.com.

Knaus Apple Ranch
19042 Cherry Lane, Tehachapi, CA

For all those red and golden delicious apple fans out there, Knaus Apple Ranch has what you need. Knaus is one of the oldest apple farms on the block, settled in Tehachapi since 1970. Knaus has eight acres of land, with half Red Delicious and half Golden Delicious trees filling it. Theirs is also a pick-your-own system, though they also have them by the bag and box.

Owner Alice Knaus said she has become good friends with all of the farmers in the area and loves that each of them helps each other every season.

“To me it’s not competition,” Knaus said. “It’s worked out well for all of us.”

Knaus is open daily. For more information, go to knausappleranch.wordpress.com.

Murray Family Farms
6700 General Beale Road and 9557 Copus Road in Bakersfield

Murray Family Farms has almost every fruit you can imagine, including a variety of apples during apple season. It’s a great place for the entire family, featuring games, a petting zoo, a hayride and pumpkin picking for the fall.  They are open every day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit murrayfamilyfarms.com.