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Crisp air and crisp apples are two of the things that make fall pleasant each year.
With harvest season running from late August to early November, the next couple of months present the best opportunity for an orchard visit, whether it’s with a significant other, family or friends.
For your day trip planning, here are five top spots for apple picking in Massachusetts.
Bartlett’s Orchard in Richmond, MA
The Berkshires often leap to mind at the mention of fresh food, and for good reason. Many Massachusetts inhabitants, along with plenty of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York residents, get the opportunity to savor the region’s fine restaurant dining each year, much of which comes from local farms and orchards. Bartlett’s Orchard in Richmond is an especially fine one, with ample trees for picking, in addition to donuts, muffins and all other kinds of tasty treats in the bakery. Olivia’s Overlook, one of the Berkshires’ most impressive vistas, also happens to be right nearby, and makes for a nice picnic spot after stocking up on goodies at the orchard.
Photo: A professional taste tester on the job at Bartlett’s Orchard
Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, MA
Tucked just beneath the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border, Cider Hill Farm cultivates 70+ acres of fruits and vegetables. Raspberries, peaches and five different varieties of apples are in the current offing for visitors, who can also treat themselves to some award-winning cider while they’re there. Inside the farm store, which is housed in a faithfully restored dairy barn that was originally built more than 100 years, there’s honey, jellies, apple butter, meats, cheeses and plenty more to be had. If you’re in the mood for a sweet, definitely find yourself one of the caramel apples, too.
Photo: Digging in at Cider Hill Farm
Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton, MA
Nashoba Valley is likely best known for its wine, but the vineyards that produce the vino are an excellent apple-picking destination as well. At Nashoba, pickers can encounter 15 types of apples, which are available at different times throughout the fall. The website is updated each morning at 9:30 a.m. with the current conditions before the orchard opens half an hour later, helping visitors ensure that they’re well aware of what awaits. After a day in the fields, parents might also swing by the winery, where they’ll find more than two dozen varieties from a vineyard that is frequently mentioned as being among the best in Massachusetts.
Photo: Walking and picking at Nashoba Valley by Lisa Boisvert
Jane and Paul’s Farm in Norfolk, MA
Along with lots and lots of cranberries, the South of Boston region has some mighty fine apples. Jane and Paul’s Farm is one of the best places to spend the day gathering them, thanks to the selection and family-friendly activities. The farm offers hayrides to picnic areas, and kids can also get to feed the goats, who are perfectly happy to take an apple or two off the hands of pickers. To inquire about picking conditions, it’s best to give the farm a call before heading over, and those interested can do that at 508-528-0812.
Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield, MA
Clarkdale Fruit Farms has now been in business for four generations and it doesn’t take much more than a few bites of their harvest to figure out why. From the hills around Deerfield come 100+ varieties of apples, peaches, plums, pears, cherries and grapes, which are listed out in detail here. During fall, visitors are welcome to pick their own Macintoshes at Clarkdale and call 413-772-6797 to ask about the availability of other fruit. Those who are around on Saturdays can also make a stop at the Greenfield Farmers’ Market, where the farm is well represented until the season winds down in November.
Photo: Among the apples at Clarkdale Fruit Farm
Where do you go for fall apple picking? Let us know in the comments!