The leaves are changing colors and that only could mean that autumn is here. The current fruit to pick in season are apples. Picking apples every fall became a tradition in my mother and father made for our family. We always head up to upstate New York to do our pickings. Also it would not be autumn without pumpkins and gourds. Here are a couple of places where you can pick apples and pumpkins:
1-Masker Orchard (Warwick, NY)
One of the most advertised orchards in New York is Masker. I always went here with my family when I was younger and I have many memories of reaching for apples from the tall trees. They provide apple pickers the opportunity to pick the most common varieties of apples you can usually find in your supermarket aisle. You can choose from Red and Golden delicious, Granny smith, Mutsu, McIntosh and many others.
This orchard allows you to drive your car directly in the orchard. There are several spots where there are workers guiding traffic and handing out bags for your apples. Each bag has a map printed on one side with the location of each apple variety. The bags and admission are free. You pay at the end when you are exiting the farm by each filled bag. The current price is $25.95 per half bushel bag.
After you are done picking apples, you can take a rest down by the farm and concessions if you are not full from eating all those apples. There are also horse rides for the kids and a mini market for pumpkins, goods and gifts to bring home.
If you sign up online for their mailing list, they usually send a coupon just before next year’s picking season for a free jug of apple cider or a discount off the bags you picked as long as you purchase two full bags. On their website Masker has two coupons available for the rest of the season: Mid-week special ($1.00 off each bag plus a free jug of cider) and a Cider Special (Free jug of apple cider with the purchase of two full bags or more).
2-Warwick Winery and Distillery Orchard (Warwick, NY)
My favorite apple orchard to go to every autumn is Warwick Winery and Distillery Orchard. Here you can get more than the usual you find from the supermarket. They have about fifty-three varieties of apples you can pick from in the orchard. You can select from your traditional Macs to unusual Freyburg or Keepsake and culinary apple, Calville Blanc, with its potato-like skin. Each bag is $25.00 (fits about twenty-five pounds of apples) and you are given a map/ apple picking guide to locate the apples you are seeking for. A complimentary tractor ride for up to 4 people per bag is included in the bag price. Additional tractor rides can be purchased for $3 per person per ride. I personally find it easy just to walk up the hill starting at the lower gate entrance.
Most of the trees in this orchard are shorter than the usual tall apple trees which make the apples easier to reach. You are allowed to use apple pickers if needed. Each row is labeled with the type of apple trees that are present. Also for convenience, the apple orchard has boxes of pre-picked apples within the orchard from apple sections that may have been roped off or were high on the tree tops.
During the weekends they also have their picnic area open with grilled food and outdoor bar. The adults can also enjoy a $5.00 wine tasting with a take home wine glass in the tasting room. My favorite wine of Warwick Valley’s is the Black Dirt Blush. The Black Dirt Blush has fruity notes of grape and apricot with hints of strawberry. In addition to their wines, they serve their homemade sangria using their Black Dirt Red wine that has notes of plum, cherries and fig.
Their other popular drinks are their Doc’s Draft hard cider. Currently they have their seasonal pumpkin hard cider in addition to their other flavors in stock (original, raspberry, cassis and pear). Warwick also makes gin and fruit liquors that can be used in drinks or with desserts.
3- Hank’s Pumpkintown and Apple Orchard (Watermill, NY)
Hank’s Pumpkintown is greatly known of course for their giant pumpkins you can pick straight off the vine in the patch. It is the place I have been going to for the past couple of years to get pumpkins during this time of year. Hank’s provide wheelbarrows to for customers to borrow, so you can get your pumpkin back to the car. If the biggest pumpkins are not what you are looking for, do not worry. Hank’s has medium-sized, small-sized, albino and fantasy pumpkins for picking. Pumpkins are priced at $0.65 per pound. The pumpkin patch is open seven days a week.
On the left side of the field is their apple orchard. They have many different varieties as well. McIntosh, Macoun, Jonagold, Empire, Cortland, Fuji, Snow Sweet, and Gala are some of the many varieties available at Hank’s. They do have restrictions and for apple picking, only four people per bag purchased. Each one peck bag is $20.00 and holds about ten pounds. The apple orchard is only open on Saturday and Sunday.
In addition to pumpkins and apples, you can also pick up other fall favorites: gourds, Indian corn, roasted corn, cider donuts and more. Hank’s has other fun fall activities such as tractor rides and a corn maze.
So whether it is picking apples and pumpkins, eating roasted corn or going for fun corn mazes, autumn is here. Might as well enjoy the changing colors of the leaves and fun while it lasts.
To find your own local farms that offer pick-your-own apples and pumpkins, visit http://www.pickyourown.org/
For more information, see below:
45 Ball Road
Warwick, NY 10990
$25.95 per filled bag (checked at exit)
Open every day 9:00am-5:00pm
Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery Orchard
114 Little York Road
Warwick, New York 10990
Dogs allowed, must be on leash.
$25.00 per bag, $5 parking fee on Saturday & Sunday
Monday – Friday: 12:00pm-5:00pm/ Saturday &Sunday: 10:00am-5:00pm
240 Montauk Highway
Water Mill, NY 11976
Pumpkins: $0.65 per pound, open seven days a week
Apples: $20.00 per bag, Open only on the weekends