Here's Where to Go Apple Picking in the Hudson Valley
Where to find your favorite apples and other fall treats.
Photo by Greg Rhein
It’s time to don your best plaid shirt, get hot apple-cider doughnuts, and hit an orchard to fill a bag with New York-grown apples. Picking begins mid-August and can run through early November. Flip the page for eight farm-orchards where you can pick, eat, drink, and play.
More than 100,000 people partake annually of the activities galore at Barton’s, which opened as an apple farm in 1977. Besides picking some of the 24 varieties, like Earligold and Zestar in the 120-acre orchard, visitors can enjoy themed festivals, a haunted house, corn maze, petting zoo, giant slides, gemstone mining, and even a dog park. New this year is Tree Top Adventures, an aerial obstacle course. There are plenty of food-and-drink options, including the Tap Room, which has adult beverages and large-screen TVs.
Photo by Grant Delin
Rent a red wagon to haul your bushels or the kids at this 270-acre farm with expansive views and 22 eco-certified (Ginger Gold, Pink Pearl) and 12 organically grown (Paula Red, Goldrush) varieties. Memberships, suggested for those who plan to pick produce (berries, tomatoes, stone fruit) more than once yearly, include free pick-your-own admission; on Tuesdays, the admission is waived for nonmembers as well. An expansion of the covered porch, doughnut window, and well-stocked farm store is slated to debut this fall. Open weekends and holidays, the tented cider garden features Fishkill Farm’s Treasury Cider, named for former U.S. treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau, who founded the family farm more than 100 years ago.
Apple of My Eye
photos courtesy of harvest moon
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
At this picturesque farm, owned by the Covino family since 2011, adults can sip a glass of one of Harvest Moon’s artisan hard ciders in the 25-acre orchard while helping the young’uns pick Idareds or Liberty Macs. Every weekend after Labor Day through October is the Fall Festival, with apple cannons, silly cutouts for fun Insta pics, pumpkin picking, pony rides, live country music, and craft-food vendors. Try their sweet cider, pressed on-site, or relax in the rustic cider garden or tasting room after browsing local foods and gifts in the farm shop.
photo courtesy of Harvest moon
Come early to beat the crowds at this perennially popular orchard offering 15 varieties, including Cortland and Rhode Island Greening, for picking daily. Soak up pastoral views on the green tractor hayride, which becomes a sing-along on weekends.
You can also try the five-acre, castle-shaped corn maze, pumpkin picking, farm-grown produce, and home-baked goodies, including pumpkin doughnuts. The fourth generation of the Outhouse family works the farm, which began as a dairy enterprise in the late 1800s, and later transitioned to growing apples in the early 1950s.
photos by greg rhein
The 15-20 varieties of u-pick apples at bucolic, family-run Pennings Orchard which dates to the 1980s, include heritages like Winesap and Northern Spy, all pollinated by bees kept on the farm. (Each vehicle entering the 45-acre orchard must purchase at least one bag. Cash only for u-pick.) Kids can feed farm animals or play in the Kiddie Corral, while adults visit the beer garden or cidery for one of Pennings’ creative hard ciders, produced with the farm’s apples. Grab a farm-fresh meal, shop at the farm market and garden center, and check the calendar for live music.
photo courtesy of pennings orchard
photo by marq sutherland
Generations come together for old-school apple picking at family-operated Soons Orchards, founded in 1910. Look for the Bonnie St. Clair, named for the owners’ relatives, a sweet wild apple found growing on the farm about a decade ago. Visit the tasting room for Soons’ award-winning ciders and pommeau and get recommendations from the mixologist. Toothsome pies and apple turnovers, delicious homemade pickles, and cider slushies, made from a blend of more than 50 apples grown on the farm, are sold at the store.
photo courtesy of westchester land trust
A popular stop for school field trips to learn how cider is made, 5,000 apple trees are spread over 90 acres at Stuart’s, with 21 varieties, like McIntosh and Braeburn, available for picking daily. Travel through the 2½-acre corn maze, visit the bakery and farm stand, enjoy a hayride, or have a picnic. A festival with music and lawn games is being held on September 14 with Westchester Land Trust, who, along with the county, state, and town, bought development rights to the farm from the Stuarts to ensure it will remain a farm in perpetuity — it’s been in the family for 191 years.
photo by heather sommer
Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm
Fall 2019 is the 103rd harvest season for this family-farm gem. Thirteen of the 40-plus varieties grown are available to pick, including Baldwin and Crispin; others can be purchased in the market, along with fresh cider, local honey, and chocolate-covered apple-cider doughnuts. (A picking minimum applies.) Wagon rides, a pumpkin patch, and corn maze, themed for the old saying “Live Happley,” add to the down-home feel. A tasting room with patio, open on weekends, features Wilkens’ wine and hard cider.