Fall is here, and with it comes cooler weather, colorful leaves, apples, cider and apple cider donuts. This also means that apple picking time is here, and if you weren’t spending all of your August weekends on the beach, you may have already visited some of the local farms to pick early arrivals like Jersey Mac, Gravenstein, or Puritan apples. Not to worry if you missed these, there will still be plenty of other varieties in October like Granny Smith, McIntosh, Delicious, Liberty etc. Some farms also sell their own jams and honey along with apple cider, hard cider and cider donuts.
Some of the farms offer apple varieties not commonly found in supermarkets or produce markets. The chance to try a new kind of apple is one of the reasons for picking your own. If you’re interested in picking a particular variety of apple, call ahead or check the orchard’s web site to be sure they are ready to be harvested, otherwise select a farm, drive out and be surprised.
While there are no apple picking venues inside Rt 128, there are quite a few inside Rt 495. If you really want to make a day of it and pick several apple varieties, some pears, sample cider, and take advantage of family oriented activities, then consider going out to the Stow/Bolton/Harvard area where there are approximately a dozen farms open for picking. In Harvard at Doe Orchards you can pick apples. In Stow at Honey Pot Hill Orchards you can pick apples now, but unfortunately pears are already gone. Want a little beer or wine to go with your produce, or a nice meal? Consider visiting the Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton where you can pick a wide variety of apples. While there, take a tasting tour of the winery and having worked up an appetite picking, enjoy a meal in the restaurant.
If you live in Boston and are looking for something closer than Bolton or you live north of the city, consider driving to Ipswich where you’ll find Russell Orchards. Right now you can pick empire, Gala, Cortland, Fuji, Mutsu and McIntosh apples. On November 2nd and November 3rd they will be having their annual Apples & Wine Festival. There will be wine tasting, gourmet snacks, and a hayride. You will also be able to make your own apple pie, there will be hands-on cider pressing and live music. Northwest of the city in Tyngsboro you can pick apples at Parlee Farms.
South of the city in East Bridgewater you’ll find C.N Smith Farm which has about a dozen varieties of apples that are harvested in October depending on the weather. Further west you’ll find farms in Wrentham, Franklin, Holliston, Sherborn and South Natick.