Will You Pay a Cover Charge for Apple Picking This Season?

I always felt bad (I use that word extremely loosely) for friends of mine who went to college in towns and cities where a cover charge at the bars was a normal thing. It was something people would always talk about when telling their wannabe cool drinking stories, and while a cover charge doesn’t seem like a big deal, if you’re frequenting bars anywhere from 1-3 times a week (if that’s a high number, you went to a lame college), that can easily add up.

You might think you’ve escaped the world of cover charges once you’re an old and washed post-grad, but of course you’ve got the occasional busy weekend in Saratoga that will throw a cover around, and now, local apple orchards are charging a fee just to get in the joint.

REXFORD, N.Y. (WRGB) – Apple pickin’ time is here and if you’re heading to your favorite orchard, you might find yourself paying a little more. Not for the apples themselves, but just to be able to pick them.

A new sign at Bowman Orchards lets customers know about a $5 fee per car for pick your own apple entry.

If you’re wondering what it’s all about, it comes down to a couple of reasons.

People are going to be so quick to read the headline and talk about how ridiculous this is, don’t you think? Nobody wants to spend unnecessary money period, and I’d have to imagine the $5 fee stings a little bit more because apple picking is an Upstate NY tradition, and families everywhere feel extremely connected to the activity for this reason.

But, before anybody throws shade, remember places like these are seasonal businesses that need to thrive in a very short period of time, like your local soft serve shop. If a soft serve establishment gets embarrassed by a bad review from Jack, their entire business is in jeopardy! If apple orchards are losing money, you’ll just have to get your apples from Market 32 from now on.

“The wage increase, and it’s not just about that,” said Kevin Bowman of Bowman Orchards. “There’s so many new mandates that are put on agriculture and put on every business in New York, that we have to find a way to come up with that. Adding the five dollars per car for people to come in, we think that will help offset that.”

The good news is that $5.00 fee is credited towards your purchase at Bowman Orchards, if you end up spending $25.00 or more.

I am 100 percent in on a cover charge for the reasons above, of course. These people are local farmers who need to make a living, pay staff, offer a fun fall experience for families, and like I said –that’s all gotta go down in a really really short season. And not to mention you can use the $5 as a credit toward your purchase, and it’s more than likely you’ll be dropping $25 on your ideal fall experience.

But you know why I am REALLY in on a $5 cover charge? Let me tell ya.

OK, OK. I know apple picking is an Upstate tradition, and I have a lot of great memories from going to apple orchards and pumpkin patches as a kid in my new GAP logo crewneck sweatshirt, petting some sort of farm animals and getting sticky AF from a few too many cider donuts. These memories were captured on a film camera (yes, I am kind of old now), and it really was a nice family day. And even in high school, we took a couple of team trips apple picking, which was slightly less fun, but it was still a tradition just to say you did it.

And now, now, apple orchards are probably one of the most Instagrammed spots ever. From high schoolers with a very active social media presence, to new couples snapping their first “official” photo together, to couples getting engaged, people posting pregnancy announcements, families taking fall photos, and basic b*tches capturing every fiber of fall’s being…apple orchards are an absolute HOTBED for social media #content.

Listen, I’m not saying I disapprove of any of those photo opps., you do you and embrace fall the way you damn well please. But, don’t you dare take advantage of this picturesque backdrop and spend 15 minutes in front of an entire row of fresh Granny Smiths just to get the perfect ‘gram. If you pay $5 for it, sure! Knock yourself out like Isaac Newton. But this free Instagramming will not happen any longer at some apple orchards in NYS. Is this the real reason they’re charging a cover? I wouldn’t be surprised.

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