There's something so fun about picking your own apples and pumpkins in the fall. This autumn tradition has proved time and time again to be one of the perfect activities to enjoy with friends and family. Here in the Midwest, Eckert's Family Farms is my favorite place to go to get in the fall spirit. They have multiple locations within Missouri and Illinois. Recently, I chose to visit the location in Belleville, IL. What sets this county store apart from other Eckert's locations is the way in which they utilize their fresh produce to make homemade products that everyone can enjoy. Ranging from apple cider syrup, to apple salsa, to different pancake and baking mixes, the options are endless. Here are my top four things to buy at Eckert's Apple Orchard: 

4. Apple Butter

Tessa Bellante

Last year was my first year at Eckert's Country Store and Farms and the apple butter caught my eye. I'd never had it before, but apple and cinnamon flavored things are easily my favorite so this year I decided to venture out and go for it. The consistency is not what I thought, but I enjoyed it. It was more of a thick applesauce. For the taste factor, it tasted like cinnamon applesauce combined with apple pie. It had the perfect level of sweetness.

#Spoontip: put apple butter on toast or oatmeal for to make the perfect fall breakfast.  

3. Apple Cider 

Apple cider is, in my opinion, one of the best things about fall. There is nothing better than a glass of warm or hot apple cider on a fall or winter day. This is the second year I've purchased Eckert's Apple Cider, and it once again did not disappoint. It has the perfect level of sweetness without overpowering the taste of apple. 

2. Apple Cider Donuts

Tessa Bellante

These donuts are the kicker. Cinnamon sugar is one of the most classic flavor combinations and combined with an apple cider flavored donut, it's unbeatable. These donuts are a widely favored item at Eckert's Country Store and Farms, bringing people back year after year to buy them. These donuts are fluffy, moist, sweet and bring about that fall feeling that we all love. The sweetness of the cinnamon sugar doesn't overpower the subtle taste of apple cider, and the two components complement each other very well. Apple cider is a unique flavor of donut to offer and because this store is one of the few places to find it, it really makes them stand out. 

1. The Apples 

Tessa Bellante

Apple picking is the main attraction of Eckert's Country Store and Farms so the apples had to be number 1 on this list. Getting to select your own apples right off the tree is not only a fun experience, but works well for picky apple eaters. They have all different kinds of apples ranging from Honey Crisp to Pixie to Fuji. The apples are relatively inexpensive, only coming in at $1.98 per lb, which isn't bad considering they're fresh off the tree and you have thousands of different apples to pick from. I've never eaten an Eckert's apple that wasn't perfectly crisp, juicy and flavorful. 

#Spoontip fresh apples are great for desserts such as apple pies, baked apples, and other apple pastries.