A backpacker picks apples during harvest in a fruit orchard. Photo: Getty

Despite lingering warm temperatures in the Northeast, many consider the first week of September as the beginning of apple picking season. People tend to look forward to the harvest season where apples are ripe and the act of gathering fruit makes for the perfect weekend getaway.

While apple picking season marks a fun and exciting time for group activity, you can easily expose yourself to foodborne illnesses. It is important to properly pick your produce in order to protect yourself from becoming sick.

While some live close to apple orchards other must travel far to experience the beautiful scenery. During these apple picking trips, it is important to pack hand sanitizer or hand wipes as some of these places do not have running water. Those on your trip should clean their hands before indulging in any meal.

After grabbing an apple from a tree, it may be tempting to immediately try one. Plenty of water and paper towels are helpful to properly sanitize fruit before taking the first bite.

Those interested in packing additional food for this adventure would be wise to bring along a cooler or some type of insulated container packed with ice, gel packs or reusable cold sources to store perishable foods. It's important to keep fruit and vegetables separate from poultry, meat and anything else that is not on the menu to be cooked.

Once the food is thoroughly cooked, place it in a clean container. It is best to throw away any leftovers once the trip is over.

Finding an orchard isn't difficult. There are many orchards in New York state, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, as well as Pennsylvania.