High Desert Orchards—Pick Your Own Just East of Tucson
"Orchards" is not the word that comes to mind when most think of southern Arizona...but less than 2 hours east of Tucson, up in the high desert, Apple Annie's is a family farm destination for fresh summer fruit. At an elevation of 4400 ft (1300m), the Sulphur Springs Valley is an ideal source for Tucson's locavore culture: orchards, fields, and even a handful of vineyards surround the old whistle stop cattle town of Willcox.
There's more than just apples. Sit down for some homemade pie or applewood-smoked burgers—and if you time it right, you can pick your own peaches, too. Several varieties of Asian pears, otherwise available only as Korean and Japanese imports, are grown here as well.
A few miles away from the orchard are the farms where you can pick or buy fresh melons, peppers, squash, tomatoes. In the fall, there's a giant 15-acre corn maze!
From Tucson, it's an easy 1hr40min drive, and if you're heading west from El Paso, Willcox is at the 3hr20min point. The orchards and farms are just a few miles north of the Interstate—well worth a stop. Stretch your legs, drive past some homesteads with cottonwoods and horses, and get a taste of what the trees can produce in the high desert.