As hard as it is to say goodbye to summer, life after Labor Day is easier to accept in New England when you have some tasty apples to get you through. And they taste even better when you pick them yourself. Massachusetts is brimming with orchards waiting for happy folks to come by and help themselves. Here are some of the best spots throughout the state.
Dowse Orchards – Sherborn, MA
This orchard has been around almost since America declared its independence. So you could say they know how to grow a crunchy apple. They also have a farm stand for purchasing flowers, pumpkins, cider and maple syrup.
The Big Apple – Wrentham, MA
Before heading out to pick apples you need to make sure you grab a few homemade cider donuts from the farm – delicious! There are tractor hay rides too. Get here early in the season because this spot is hoppin’ and they get picked clean pretty quickly. Inside the farm store you can watch the apple sorter at work and pick up a tasty pie or candy apple while waiting in line to pay for your goods (CASH ONLY).
Belkin Family Lookout Farm – South Natick, MA
Settled in 1651 by the town’s founder, this is one of the oldest operational farms in the country. This place is an event – rides, music, bouncies, burlap maze, haystack pyramid, petting zoo, play area, face painting and of course, apple picking. You have to pay an admission fee to get in but it allows you to use all of the above all day long. They also have a farmer’s market and garden center open to all, whether you want to venture into the farm or not.
Cider Hill Farm – Amesbury, MA
This converted dairy farm allows you to pay by the pound rather than forcing you to fill a bag and pay a minimum. They have a large bee colony observation area in their store so you can see how honeybees are vital to farms. The store also sells honey, syrup, jams, pastries, candy, donuts and seasonal fruits and veggies. Plus there are hayrides, farm animals and of course, fresh cider.
Red Apple Farm – Phillipston, MA
This scenic farm surrounded by stone walls and beautiful foliage has apples to pick, farm animals to pet, hayrides to take and homemade fudge with ice cream and weekend BBQ’s to eat (CASH ONLY). There are walking trails out to a beaver dam to burn off those calories for those who want to skip the picking process.
U-Pick Phil’s Apples – Harvard, MA
Phil’s is a no-nonsense place. He focuses on apples. He grows ‘em, you pick ‘em. And on the weekends he makes fresh pressed cider. He encourages helpers when making cider so be sure to plan a weekend visit. No hayrides or petting zoo – just hanging out picking apples.
Outlook Farm – Westhampton, MA
The opposite of Phil’s, Outlook Farm has everything and more. Minimum cost for apple picking is $20 for a half-bushel bag – one size picks all. There are festivals, a butcher shop (you can also roast your own pig), hay rides, gardens, and a country store. Oh, and if you just can’t tear yourself away from this historic and scenic setting, there’s a bed & breakfast too. Even if you aren’t an overnight guest, the breakfast bacon at the store is worth a visit.
Post by and all photos credited to Molly G. @The Bumbles Blog