Peak apple picking starts the third week of September and continues into October in our area. Each orchard grows a different assortment of apples based on the orchard’s unique soil content and available space, but in general you can find more than 7 different varieties at each orchard. Since we live in the information-overload age, I’ve included links to reviews on Yelp.com for added color on the orchards and great finds in the area. Most places will have pumpkins available as October gets closer, and many have picnic facilities. As always, call ahead to avoid disappointment and to confirm prices and opening hours. If you can fit a small wagon in your car, bring it as carrying buckets of apples gets heavy really fast and kids tucker out. My favorite place for apple picking is Pennings: a bit of a drive but consistently good apples and great ice cream very near by.
63 Apple Tree Lane
Poughquag NY, 12570-9610 Phone (845) 227-2306
Web Site: www.bartonorchards.com
Hours: 9-5pm every day
Apple varieties now available include Paula Reds, Early Gold, and Ginger Gold. Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, beans squash and cut flowers also available for picking. Barton Orchard is one of the few places that charges admission, so beware. General admission to the farm is $3.00 per person, 6 years old and up. Chainsaw Doc will be at the farm every weekend making wooden carvings, something you don’t see every day.
Cedar Heights Orchard
8 Crosby Lane
Rhinebeck NY, 12572 Phone (845) 876-3231
Web Site: www.rhinebeckapples.com
Hours: 9 to dusk daily
Cedar Heights has been a family-owned orchard for over 150 years. Prices are $8.00 for 1/4 bushel (10 lbs) or 1/2 bushel (20 lbs) for $15.00. Once you are stocked with apples, try two recipes I found on Cedar’s website that are quite good http://rhinebeckapples.com/page5/index.html.
Mead Orchards LLC
15 Scism Road
Tivoli NY, 12583
Phone (845) 756-5641
Web Site: www.meadorchards.com
Hours: 10-6pm weekends and Columbus Day
Mead Orchards is a 180-acre fruit orchard and vegetable farm located in the mid-Hudson River Valley. In business since 1916, the orchard grows nearly 40 varieties of apples, as well as peaches, pears, plums, cherries, strawberries and other berries. Current varieties of apples include Fuji, Golden Delicious, Mancoun, Senshu and Shizuka. At the end of September, look for Mutsu, Red Delicious Cameo, Fuji, Rome, Stayman-Winesap.
Apple Ridge Orchards
101 Jessup Road
Warwick NY, 10990
Phone (845) 987-7717
Web Site: www.appleridgeorchards.com
Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday 9-6pm
This orchard has dwarf apple trees, which makes it ideal for young kids. When they tire out from picking, take them to the honey bee observation area where they can learn about the importance of pollination and see the bees in action. Be on the lookout for poison ivy if you do visit. Current apple varieties include Cameo, Liberty, Zestar, SunCrisp and Gold Rush. Here is a link for the greatest ice cream in the area http://www.bellvalefarms.com.
Masker Fruit Farms Inc
45 Ball Road
Warwick NY, 10990
Phone (845) 986-8852
Apple Hotline at (845) 986-1058
Web Site: www.maskers.com
Hours: 9-5 every day
Starting the third week of September, Granny Smith, Cortland, Empire, Jonagold, McCowan and Red Delicious are available, with Sparta Macintosh, Ida Reds, Smoothies and Surprise coming in October. Bags are free and management encourages sampling while visiting the orchard. Bellvale Farms is famous state wide for its ice cream, so make sure you stop for a cone. http://www.yelp.com/biz/bellvale-farms-creamery-warwick.
169 State Rt 94
South Warwick NY, 10990
Phone (845) 986-7080
Web Site: www.penningsorchard.com
Hours: Weekends 10-4
On September 15, 2012, Pennings will host a Brew Fest on the Farm from 2-6 pm (additional fee), which includes a 4-hour tasting, local food vendors, and live music. Pennings has no entrance fee for apple picking, but there is a one bag minimum per vehicle. Pumpkins are available September 22-October 31.
Soons Orchards Inc.
23 Soons Circle
New Hampton NY, 10958
Phone (845) 374-5471
Web Site: www.soonsorchards.com
Hours: Weekends 10-4
The orchard offers a Dinner at the Farm once a month featuring local produce with cooking demonstrations by top chefs in the area. The next one is September 21. U-pick pumpkins will start by 9/22. Current varieties available for picking include Frieheir von Berlapsch, Arlet, Macoun, Redcort, Cortland and Lady Jean.
139 Hardscrabble Road
Croton Falls, NY 10519
When you don’t feel like a long drive, Outhouse is a quick ride straight up I-684. Available for picking now are McIntosh, Cortland, Rhode Island Greenings. Look for Rome, Baldwin and Red Delicious in about two weeks’ time. Stop on the way back home in Katonah, a charming northern Westchester town with a great restaurant, Blue Dolphin or visit La Tulipe in Mt Kisco, where the Clintons ordered Chelsea’s wedding cake.
Stuart's Century Farm
62 Granite Springs Road
Granite Springs NY, 10527
Phone (914) 245-2784
Web Site: www.stuartsfarm.com
Hours: Daily 10am-5pm
Stuart’s, the oldest working farm in Westchester County, grows nine varieties of apples including Macintosh, Cortlands, and Macouns (September) and Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Empire, Mutsu, Jonagold, Ida Red, Northern Spy, Black Twig, Baldwins, Stuart's Surprise (October). This is one of the few places around that will allow you to pick your own pumpkins right from the vine!
Wilkens Fruit Farm
1335 White Hill Road
Yorktown Heights NY, 10598
Phone (914) 245-5111
Web Site: www.wilkensfarm.com
Varities ready to pick include Cortland, Macoun, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonagold, Crispin, Empire, Winesap, Fuji and Ida Red and Granny Smith. There is a 1/4 bushel minimum (11 pounds) for entering the orchard. Choose-And-Cut Christmas Trees will start from the Saturday after Thanksgiving through the third week of December.