Apple picking is a New England tradition and a must-do for those who are new to the area. With many orchards open through October, there are still a few weekends left to make the trip to one of the local farms. Don’t have a car? Think about renting one or reserving a Zipcar because it is well worth the trip!
I recently visited Parlee Farms, located about 45 minutes outside of Boston near the Merrimack River in Tyngsboro, MA. The experience could not have been more perfect. It was the end of strawberry season and picking my favorite fruit was a delight. We also came home with a couple pounds of fresh-picked red and golden raspberries, in addition to loads of apples.
Parlee Farms offers a wide variety of apples, ranging from Gala and Macintosh to Honey Crisp and Empires. After a short hayride to the orchard, guests are let loose to pick their own apples from the hundreds of dwarf trees where fresh, ripe apples await them. Each person gets to eat one apple while in the orchard.
Back at the barn, Mary’s Country Kitchen offers warm apple crisp with homemade vanilla ice cream that rivals even your grandma’s best apple pie. The Farmstand also sells fresh fruit, jam, honey and freshly made apple-cider donuts. Annie’s Animal Farm and the Hay Play Area offer plenty of fun for kids along with the pumpkin patch, which is expected to produce over 30,000 pumpkins in all shapes and sizes. And if all of this is not enough, before you leave, be sure to select your own fresh zinnias and dahlias from the cut-your-own flower field, which, surprisingly, were still available well into October.
For a list of Massachusetts apple orchards, visit www.appleofyourpie.com/apples/orchards/orchard_list_MA.html