Watching my boys run and squint at the various eating opportunities before they select the perfect apple makes me smile just thinking about it. Going to a pick-your-own orchard with the smell of apples in the air, the swishing of fall grass at my feet, and the warm glass of cider with an apple cinnamon donut… who couldn’t love this!
We did it twice last fall, and with apple season just beginning again, I hope to do it at least twice again this year. To help the first time picker though, these are a few of my first thoughts:
- Take it on as an adventure, not as a path towards cheap fruit
- Late blueberries and early apples occur at the same time (late Aug. to early Sept. in New England) so double up if you can
- Arrive with an empty belly, as they weigh your bag but not you on your way out
- Pricing is about the same as if you would buy them in a store, but I will always pay for experiences
- Test a variety of different varieties on different trees, and even different sides of the trees before you settle on something you want to pick and take home
- Pack snacks and maybe even a lunch — orchards are fun to explore, and just remember to pack everything you take in, out
I grew up on an orchard, which biases my perspective, but there really isn’t much to learn regarding fruit picking. Twisting the apple by its stem and turn it up on the branch and it should nestle gently into your hand. You are now educated, so let me walk you through what you expect.
- You will be corraled to a pay-stand of some kind, where you are asked to buy a bag/container. Different sized bags allow different numbers of people in for free, so a medium bag may allow 3 people, but a large bag may allow five. So, if you are a family of 4 buying a medium bag, they may charge you for an extra person…. probably better off buying a large bag.
- Different areas of the orchard have different varieties of apples, so follow the signs to one of the apple varieties you would like to try.
- Wander within the row. Put a large apple in one hand and a small apple in the other hand — which one tastes better to you? Do you like Honey Crisp or Macintosh — try them both.
- Mound your bag and carry it back out to the car. When you get there, look like a pro by putting these apples into a box or at least taking half the apples out and putting them into a separate box. A bag of apples will never stand up on its own, and whether it occurs when you are driving out of the parking lot or at the first turn, that bag will dump apples all over the floor of the car.
- Go check out the farm store, as this is usually where the hayrides start/stop, as well as where you will find those apple cinnamon donuts, coffee, fresh cider, etc.
Here is where we went most recently… an easy commute from Boston, and I plan to go back, but there are lots of options at your internet fingertips. Hope you have fun!