Time to Go Apple Picking Around Boston
September 12, 2012

School is back in session, days are getting shorter, and there’s a snap in the air. It’s that time again---time to go apple picking!

Since before my daughter could even eat an apple, my family has made this one of our annual fall traditions. And invariably every year I learn about yet another orchard I’ve never heard of, but I am assured is the “best.” That’s one of the joys of living in New England---the sheer variety of outdoor offerings is staggering.

Finding a Farm

A quick search on the nonprofit New England Apple Association’s website shows dozens and dozens of apple orchards, many with pick-your-own hours. According to the organization, about 40 varieties of apples are grown in New England.

We’re not particularly loyal to one orchard or another---we like to explore new places too much---but there are some universal practices that you should follow and make sure to teach your kids.

Tips for Your Visit

Before you head out to a farm, call ahead. Just because the website says fruit is in season at a certain time doesn’t mean it is ready to pick. Make sure you have appropriate shoes and something warm to wear. You’ll be trekking through orchards. And leave your dog at home. Once you’re at the farm, pick only where you’re told to. Some varieties ripen before others. Kids should not climb or shake trees.

If you think picking apples may entertain your kids for only so long, look for a farm with other activities. Plenty of places offer more to do. Hay rides, scarecrow building, games, music, and food are available at many farms.

Apple Festivals

Of course, one of the best rewards of a day of apple-picking is what you make with the apples. If you need some inspiration, two upcoming festivals should give you some ideas. The Boxford Apple Festival, on September 15, is a hometown affair, with apple pies and apple crisp, as well as arts and crafts and other food.

Next month, on October 20, at the Applefest at Wachusett Mountain, amateur bakers can compete in the 3rd Annual Great New England Apple Pie Contest. The fair offers plenty of family-friendly activities: skyrides to the summit of the mountain, pony and hay rides, a climbing wall, music, farmers’ market, and more. The following day, there’s a 5K run/walk and a hike. You can register for the contest or the 5K, or buy advance tickets, on the website.

Do you have a favorite place to go apple-picking? How about a fall festival? We want to know!

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