Editor’s note: Our apple picking guide has been updated for September 2016! Happy picking!
Apple picking season is upon us again, along with the perennial question, “Which orchard should we go to?” It’s a good question because all orchards are not created equal. Here are several Westchester-area orchards that offer very different picking experiences. Remember to always call ahead to check on availability, and keep in mind that most of the pumpkin patches at these places don’t open until October.
Every weekend through the end of October, Fishkill Farms will be hosting a Fall Harvest Festival, with live music, barbecue and hayrides, in addition to the 40-acres of apples for picking. All of the apples are organic or eco-certified, and the whole place is devoted to sustainable farming. What’s more, the views from this farm can’t be beat! There’s no better place to pick some apples, relax, and take in the crisp autumn air.
Varieties: Fuji, Gala, Jonamac, McIntosh, Spartan
Activities: Hayrides, farm animals, farm store, live music, barbecue and other hot foods for sale, pumpkin patch
Fishkill Farms, 9 Fishkill Farm Road, Hopewell Junction, NY; 845-897-4377
If what you’re interested in is straight-up apple picking and lots of varieties to choose from, then Masker is your best bet. While the place does offer some other activities, the real attraction is the 200 acres of orchards. It’s so large that you’re encouraged to drive from section to section. Bring some sandwiches and a picnic blanket to spread right beneath an apple tree when it’s time to take a break from all that picking.
Varieties: Prime Red, Macintosh, Granny Smith, Cortland, Empire, Jonagold, McCowan, Red Delicious, Sparta, Ida Red, Rome, Mutsu, Golden Delicious, Smoothie, Surprise
Activities: Family-friendly haunted house, face painting, apple maze, pumpkin patch, farm store, hot food for sale
Masker Orchard, 45 Ball Road, Warwick, NY; 845-986-1058
Lawrence Farms and Orchard
The best thing about Lawrence is that when you get tired of apple-picking, you can move onto other fruits and vegetables, including grapes, pears, peppers, eggplant, corn, broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips and beets. It’s actually a pretty amazing experience to pull a head of broccoli right from the plant! There’s also plenty of fun for the kids, including a play village designed to look like an old-fashioned New England town. This place is especially great for families with young children.
Varieties: Macintosh, Jonamac, Honey Crisp, Gala, Empire, Cortland, Macoun, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Ida Red, Mutsu, Jonagold, Staymen, Northern Spy, Fuji, Rome, Granny Smith
Activities: Play village, farm animals, horse-drawn carriage, hay bale maze, farm store, hot food for sale, pumpkin patch
Lawrence Farms Orchard, 306 Frozen Ridge Road, Newburgh, NY; 845-562-4268
A six generation working farm in Somers — someone still lives in the original 1760 farmhouse — Stuart’s Farm is the oldest apple farm in Westchester County. The farm has more than 200 acres of orchards, featuring nine different varieties of apples. They also bake their own pies, scones, muffins, apple cider donuts and streusel. Don’t miss the barn: It sells cookies and fresh produce from the farm.
Varieties: Macouns, Honeycrisp, Jonamac, Gala, Macintosh, Cortlands, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Mutsu
Activities: Hayrides, pumpkin patch, fresh food and produce for sale
Stuart’s Farm, 62 Granite Springs Road, Granite Springs; 914-245-2784
Located on 100 acres in North Salem, Outhouse Orchards is an apple picking paradise. Every time you think you’re done picking, you turn a corner on the farm and find another orchard. A hay ride costs extra but takes you on a 20-minute tour of the orchards, a pretty way to see the rolling hills of the farm and the changing colors.
Varieties: McIntosh, Cortland, Rhode Islands Greenings, Red Delicious, Rome, Baldwin
Activities: Corn maze, farm stand, pumpkin patch
Outhouse Orchards, 139 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem; 914-277-3188
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
Located on 66 acres in North Salem, Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard features a farm shop that sells homemade pies and cider donuts. Weekends during September and October are called “fall festivals” with live music, pony rides, food vendors (including their famous barbecue) and hay rides. Warning: On a busy Saturday, this place is a zoo, but it’s also a blast.
Varieties: Macintosh, Liberty, Ida Red, Mutso
Activities: Hayrides, farm animals, live music, hot food for sale, pumpkin patch, face painting, pony rides, bouncy castles
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard, 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem; 914-485-1210
After paying for your bag, take a hay ride out to the orchards. The orchard requires a 1/4 bushel minimum (11 pounds) for you to enter the pick-your-own apple orchards; it may sound like a lot but it fills up fast. Check out the Wilkens Farm apple availability calendar before you go. There’s also a farm shop selling strudel sticks, apple cider donuts and pies, all homemade on the premises.
Activities: Hayrides, farm store
Varieties: Gala, Macintosh, Baldwin, Cortland, Macon, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonagold, Crispin, Empire, Winesap, Fuji, Ida Red
Wilken Farm, 1335 White Hill Road, Yorktown Heights; 914-245-5111
Dr. Davies Farm
Just over the Tappan Zee Bridge, about 30 minutes from White Plains, Dr. Davies is another regional favorite, just a stone’s throw from Westchester County. There are 4,000 apples trees on the property so you won’t have a problem finding apples. Dr. Davies presses their own cider, which you can sample at the farm stand, and there is a market selling everything from pumpkins to fresh veggies. A hayride takes you to the pumpkin patch on the weekends.
Activities: Tractors, hayrides, pumpkin patch
Varieties: Macintosh, Cortland, Crispin, Golden Delicious,and Empire
Dr. Davies Farm, 306 Route 304, Congers; 845-268-7020