Willcox, AZ

Visiting Apple Annie's Orchard & Corn Maze in Willcox

Janet de Acevedo Macdonald

Welcome, Autumn! Now, during the harvest season, is the perfect time to put a visit to Apple Annie’s Orchard in Willcox on your outdoor, family-fun calendar. More informally known by locals as “Apple Annie’s,” it’s set in the Sulphur Springs Valley in three locations - its produce & pumpkins farm, its fruits orchard, and country store - all within a few short driving miles of one another within the greater Willcox area on the north side of I-10 at exit 340.

Apple Annie's OrchardPHOTO CREDIT: Janet de Acevedo Macdonald

Apple Annie's Orchard Asian Pear treePHOTO CREDIT: Janet de Acevedo Macdonald

My husband, Ian, and I love to explore Arizona, especially places in Cochise County, where we live. Our home is in Palominas between Sierra Vista and Bisbee in the southern part of our 6200-square-mile county. This was our first trip to the Willcox area and Apple Annie’s. Its 2022 Corn Maze was the draw since neither of us had adventured through one before.

Apple Annie's Corn Maze signPHOTO CREDIT: Janet de Acevedo Macdonald

Apple Annie's Corn Maze paths can be wetPHOTO CREDIT: Janet de Acevedo Macdonald

Open from late September through Halloween, the corn maze is at the Produce & Pumpkins location – what employees call “the farm.” Apple Annie’s has been creating corn mazes for decades, and each year has a different design. An overhead drone’s point of view would allow you to take in the artistic design, but at street level, it’s wall-to-wall, ‘higher than an elephant’s eye’ stalks of corn with a puzzle of dirt paths that often fold back on one another. The maze is designed and planted on 12.5 acres, making it the largest corn maze in Arizona. It has three levels of difficulty – easy, intermediate, and challenge. Ian and I being greenhorns, chose the easy maze to get an idea of how it works.

Let me back up a bit and explain. When you come to visit, before choosing your maze level difficulty, at the maze entrance choose one of several passports (think: treasure map guides) that are 5 x 7-inch question-and-answer trivia cards from brightly painted, themed mailboxes (e.g., Girl Scouting, Boy Scouting, Movies/Music/TV, Team Building, etc.). Each passport has 10 questions with true/false or multiple-choice answers that steer you right or left through the maze to your next pathway intersection. Brilliant! Except, we novices chose the easy maze, which is the only one that doesn’t use passports for navigation! After boldly strolling in making no note of the sun’s location nor dropping any breadcrumbs, and quickly losing sight of the entry, we soon discovered we were retracing our footprints. Luckily, Ian’s a former Eagle Scout, and his good sense of direction found us back to the entrance to the “easy” maze after a good 30-minute tour of me following him, him following me. Did I tell you that at midday on a Monday we were the only guests in the entire 12+ acre maze?!

Apple Annie's Corn Maze passport mailboxesPHOTO CREDIT: Janet de Acevedo Macdonald

Apple Annie's Corn Maze passport directionsPHOTO CREDIT: Janet de Acevedo Macdonald

Janet & Ian enjoying their first corn maze experiencePHOTO CREDIT: Janet de Acevedo Macdonald

Due to the new Federal Food Safety Law, Apple Annie’s can no longer allow pets in its veggie fields, orchards, or corn maze. So, leave Fido at home in the air conditioning.

Think about dressing for success as you get ready to visit Apple Annie’s and its vast Arizona outdoors. It’s a good time to choose close-toed shoes like sneakers, cowboy or riding boots over those cute sandals, or flip-flops.

Add bug spray, bottles of water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to your farm-visiting gear too - that way you only return home with tasty, fresh-picked fruit and veg, myriad cellphone pics, and happy memories, versus a sunburn, bug bites, dry eyeballs, a wind-chapped face, and the beginnings of dehydration.

Apple Annie’s Orchard Country Store is open 9 am-5 pm daily year-round except on major holidays. Located at 1510 N. Circle I Road, in Willcox, it has a charming gift shop. This is where you want to head to shop for tasty delights like homemade pies, jams, jellies, salsas, oils, homemade apple butter, homemade apple bread, its bakery, and fudge!

Apple Annie’s Orchard, 2081 W. Hardy Road, in Willcox, is open daily 9 am-5 pm, from July through October. It is the ‘you-pick-em’ paradise for apples, peaches, and pear lovers. Apple Annie’s is the largest apple and peach orchard in Arizona! With more than 15,000 trees, including 20+ peach varieties, 10 different types of apples, plus Bartlett and Asian Pears. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as reaching in and plucking a juicy, fresh fruit right off the tree. Be sure to check its harvest calendar to learn the current ripening dates for your fruit and veg of choice.

Apple Annie’s Produce & Pumpkins at 6405 W. Williams Road in Willcox, is home to the corn maze, hayrides, sunflowers, and rows and rows of vegetables like eggplant, peppers, and squash. This is also your destination to wander its vast pumpkin patch to find the best pumpkin for pie, a savory holiday side dish, or Jack-o-lantern carving. Here, you may pick your own produce or choose from the already-picked bins.

Get social with Apple Annie’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok. Its website is www.AppleAnnies.com. The main number is 520-384-2084.

Be sure to get a photo on a big Apple Annie's chairPHOTO CREDIT: Janet de Acevedo Macdonald

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I am continually fascinated by all there is to do, see, eat & drink in Arizona, especially in Cochise County.

Hereford, AZ

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