U-Pick Fun and Much More at Royal Oak Farm {Harvard}

We first visited Royal Oak Farm last year and it quickly became a family favorite and our go-to destination for apple picking goodness. This family-owned and operated orchard is the real deal. Beautiful scenery, hay rides out to sprawling fields of fruit, friendly people and a fun atmosphere for the kids. I always leave feeling fulfilled and at ease rather than the exhaustion I often feel after family outings.
royal oak farm orchard harvad
© T. Rubel | Little Lake County.com | 2018 – Editor’s note: photo updated from original story

Two dozen different varieties of apples are set among countless acres of trees for you to sample, pick and bring home beginning at the end of August and lasting through mid-October. I particularly appreciated their apple map which indicated where each variety can be found on their land, the flavor profile and best uses. Be sure to check their crop report for details on what is available. And my concerns about pesticides in apples were eased by their commitment to using sustainable and safe practices which enable them to use minimal spraying to control pests, click here for details about their integrated pest management system.

Once you’re done picking, head on over to their entertainment area where your children can play on several wooden climbing toy structures including a tractor, fire engine, full size doll houses, a train and more. Admission to their play area is free but you will have to buy tokens for their special motorized attractions such as the train ride, carousel, orchard tour and petting zoo. I usually shy away from these attractions because the money seems to add up quickly but I find that the kids are more than happy with the free play area at Royal Oak and just a few rides are enough for them.
royal oak farm orchard
© T. Rubel | Little Lake County.com | 2018 – Editor’s note: photo updated from original story

Before you are done for the day, be sure to visit their gift shop, bakery and produce barn to buy some farm fresh goodies. You can also eat at their country restaurant but I will warn that, on weekends, there will likely be a line to get in so go during off hours or bring a bag lunch as a back up plan if you don’t want to get stuck with hungry kids and a long wait in front of you. There is no admission to the orchard until Labor Day weekend, then it will cost $3/vehicle on Saturdays and holidays through the end of October. This makes it a real bargain to visit now and pick some of their juicy raspberries while avoiding the crowds that will inevitably come to pick apples next month. I will admit that I generally dislike lines and crowds but, despite my previous mentions, I never found Royal Oak to be over crowded or frustrating. I think the sheer size and wide-spread layout really helps here. Even if it seems like it may be busy when you’re in the parking lot, I’ve often found myself alone amongst their rows of apple trees.

royal oak farm orchard
© T. Rubel | Little Lake County.com | 2018 – Editor’s note: photo updated from original story

I would be lying if I didn’t say that Royal Oak farm is long a drive to Harvard, Illinois but don’t let that stop you because this place is definitely worth the trip! If you are not able to make the trip out to see them, you can also find Royal Oak Farm at the Grayslake Farmers Market where they bring apples, cider and plenty of fresh baked goods for your enjoyment.

 

Royal Oak Farm Orchard
15908 Hebron Road, Harvard, IL 60033
(815) 648-4141 | Facebook

Open Monday through Saturday
Closed Sundays
See website for current hours and picking schedules.

 

Editor’s note: updated in 2018 with new pictures and removing reference to pick your own berries which they no longer offer.

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About Kristy 19 Articles
Kristy is the mother of two young children, who join in her quest for unique restaurants, fun places to play and a little personal sanity in the process. She does her best to teach her children healthy habits, kindness, compassion and a love of nature while also learning that sometimes we need to let go of our ideals in the name of fun.

1 Comment

  1. My family and I made a trip to this apple orchard last fall and it was a great time! Just like you said, the varieties of apples available for picking was endless. It was so fun to go and get all the different kinds of apples that were available. We have an apple peeler at home, and so we loaded up on several different kinds of apples and then got started on a great variety of apple-based dishes! Highly recommended destination for apple picking.

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