A couple of weeks ago I asked my Facebook friends for recommendations for apple orchards within 2 hours of Boston... and they came through. I had no idea there were so many orchards around! Here are the suggestions I got: Applecrest Farm Orchards, Berlin Orchards, Carlson Orchards, Drew Farm, Honey Pot Hill Orchards, Russell Orchards, Shelburne Farm, Smolak Farms, Tougas Family Farm, and Westward Orchards (plus a couple of my old favorites in Connecticut -- Lyman Orchards and Rogers Orchards -- and a place in New Hampshire that's a bit more of a trek -- Alyson's Orchard).
I started looking them all up and trying to decide on one to go to. I was on the hunt for Cortlands (my favorite variety for baking), so I checked what was ripe for picking. In the end there were just too many orchards to choose from to narrow them all down to one, so I chose three that were fairly close to one another. And two Saturday mornings ago we set out bright and early with the intention of getting to at least two of them.
We started at Westward Orchards and arrived at 9 a.m. just when they opened. Only a handful of other people were there and it felt like we had the orchard to ourselves. We filled a bag with Cortlands and grabbed some apple cider doughnuts for the road. The apple cider doughnuts were amazing (and I'm a tough critic since I make my own).
Reason to go besides apples: Apple cider doughnuts
Then we headed off to Drew Farm. We got there around 9:50, but the farm doesn't open until 10, so we drove around the neighorhood admiring some of the houses and looped back at 10. The three cars in front of us also turned into the parking lot. It was like everyone was doing the same thing we were. We purchased a small bag and walked up the hill to the orchard (there's also a tractor that drives up). The Cortlands here were very red and ripe and looked gorgeous, so we filled another bag with those.
Reason to go besides apples: Mums (I bought some gorgeous ones to decorate our front steps for fall.)
We were running ahead of schedule, so I talked Jeff into making one more stop on the way home: Berlin Orchards. There were definitely more people here than at the other two orchards (and lots of kids -- we think they were on a field trip), but there were also more apple varieties to choose from. We picked some Honeycrisps, Ginger Golds, and Galas. Then we took the tractor ride back to the farm and visited the animals before we left.
Reason to go besides apples: Pigs!
Where do you go apple picking? What are your favorite kinds of apples?