Apples, the classic fruit of autumn, become ripe for the picking this month and next in southwestern Idaho. By September, most of the tart summer apples are gone, but McIntosh, Jonathan and other varieties of cooking apple are ready for harvest. The picking of the all-purpose apple for eating and cooking, Golden Delicious, begins early this month. The middle of September brings a great throng of apples for eating, including Red Delicious, Empire and Honeycrisp. The apple season concludes in October and early November with favorite varieties like Fuji and Pink Lady.
To see a good selection of apple varieties that grow in Idaho, visit the Williamson Orchards at Sunny Slope northeast of Marsing on Hwy 55. Their fruit stand is on the left if you are west-bound on Hwy 55, not far past the big curve in the road.
Sunny Slope is southwest Idaho’s major orchard area, but in years past, Emmett was a fruit-growing center of importance. Enough orchards remain south of Emmett to provide a picturesque drive with the inevitable stops for apples and jugs of cider.
To tour the apple orchards of Payette Valley, take Hwy 16 to Emmett. After coming down Freezeout Hill, watch for the Albertson’s food center and turn left there on South Johns Avenue. Follow the road south toward Freezeout Hill until it intersects with South Slope Road. Most of the orchards are to the west along South Slope Road, but there are also orchards at the ends of South Johns Avenue and South Mill Road.
The little orchards along South Slope Road mostly  raise Red and Yellow Delicious varieties; some orchards allow visitors to pick their own apples.

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