Here's Where to Go Apple Picking in the Hudson Valley

Where to find your favorite apples and other fall treats.


Published:

Pennings Orchard

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.

 

Barton Orchards

Poughquag

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

 

Fishkill Farms

Hopewell Junction

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

Grab one of our fave fall treats.

By Samantha Garbarini

 

Sweet Cider

Thompson’s Cider Mill, Croton-on-Hudson

At his 19th-century farm, owner Geoff Thompson blends as many as 25 apple varieties, including rare heirlooms, to create aromatic, perfectly balanced, small-batch ciders that reflect the farm’s heritage and draw family-friendly crowds.

 


photo courtesy of Harvest Moon

 

Cider Doughnut

Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard, North Salem

Delightfully old-fashioned is how we’d describe these knobby, tender doughnuts that are crisp and craggy in all the right places, usually hot (thank you, weekend crowds) and generously coated in gets-all-over-your-hands sugar.

 

Hard Cider

Hardscrabble Cider, North Salem

This micro-cidery at Harvest Moon gets creative riffing on its traditional dry cider to create electric pink Black Dirt Beet, an IPA-reminiscent Citra-hopped cider, and rotating seasonal versions (definitely try one) like black-currant-basil.

 


photo courtesy of salinger's orchard

 

Apple Pie

Salinger’s Orchard, Brewster

There’s no u-pick at this fourth-generation farm, but it’s worth the trek anyway for traditional apple, sugar-free, apple-crumb, and apple-walnut-caramel pies, baked fresh daily or available frozen to emerge from your home oven hot and bubbly. 

 

 

photos courtesy of harvest moon

 

Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard

North Salem

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

 

Outhouse Orchards

North Salem

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

 

Pennings Orchard

Warwick

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

 

Soons Orchards

New Hampton

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.

 

Sweet Sixteen

Introducing the cream of the Hudson Valley crop. Plus, where to find them, and what to do with that bushel your brought home.

By Samantha Garbarini

 

Row 1, left to right

Braeburn ​
Season:
October
Flavor/Texture: Ultra-crisp, sweet, tangy, and juicy
Best For: Eating and cooking
Pick It: Pennings Orchard, Stuart’s

 

Cortland
Season:
Mid-September into October
Flavor/Texture: Snow-white flesh that’s sweet, with a hint of tartness
Best For: Everything from eating to baking and sauces
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Outhouse Orchards, Pennings Orchard, Soons, Stuart’s, Wilkens

 

Empire
Season:
Late September to early October
Flavor/Texture: Juicy, crispy, and creamy, like the McIntosh that spawned it
Best For: Eating and salads
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Outhouse Orchards, Pennings Orchard, Soons, Stuart’s, Wilkens

 

Fuji
Season:
October
Flavor/Texture: Juicy, plenty crisp, and super-sweet
Best For: Throwing in a lunchbox, salads
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Outhouse Orchards, Pennings Orchard, Soons, Stuart’s, Wilkens

 

Row 2, Left to Right

Idared
Season:
Early-to-mid-October
Flavor/Texture: Firm, juicy, and slightly tart
Best For: Baked apples, pies, and sauces
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Harvest Moon, Outhouse Orchards, Pennings Orchard, Stuart’s, Wilkens

 

Jonagold​
Season:
Mid-September into October
Flavor/Texture: Sweet, with just a little tartness, crisp and creamy
Best For: Eating and baking
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Outhouse Orchards, Pennings Orchard, Soons, Stuart’s, Wilkens

 

Macoun
Season:
Mid-September into October
Flavor/Texture: Super-sweet and juicy
Best For: Eating, pairing with some NYS cheese
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Pennings Orchard, Soons, Stuart’s, Wilkens

 

McIntosh
Season:
Early September
Flavor/Texture: Tender, creamy flesh with that sweet-tart balance
Best For: Eating and applesauce
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Harvest Moon, Outhouse Orchards, Pennings Orchard, Soons, Stuart’s, Wilkens​

 

Row 3, Left to Right

Gala
Season:
Early-to-mid-September
Flavor/Texture: Mild, juicy, and crisp
Best For: Eating and salads
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Outhouse Orchards, Pennings Orchard, Soons, Stuart’s, Wilkens

 

Golden Delicious
Season:
Late September into October
Flavor/Texture: Honey-sweet and juicy, with pale-yellow flesh
Best For: Eating, baking, and sauces
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Harvest Moon, Outhouse Orchards, Pennings Orchard, Soons, Wilkens

 

Granny Smith
Season:
Late October to early November
Flavor/Texture: Shockingly tart and juicy
Best For: Baking
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Outhouse Orchards, Pennings Orchard

 

Honeycrisp
Season:
Early September
Flavor/Texture: The juiciest, with a honey-sweet flavor and ultra-crisp bite
Best For: Eating
Pick It: Pennings Orchard

 

Row 4, Left to Right

Mutsu (aka Crispin)
Season:
Late September to mid-October
Flavor/Texture: Refreshing, juicy, and crisp
Best For: Eating, baking, and freezing for later
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Harvest Moon, Outhouse Orchards, Pennings Orchard, Stuart’s

 

Red Delicious
Season:
Late September through October
Flavor/Texture: The Platonic ideal — sweet, juicy, and crisp
Best For: Eating and making salads
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Outhouse Orchards, Pennings Orchard, Soons, Stuart’s

 

Rome
Season:
Mid-October
Flavor/Texture: Gently tart and firm
Best For: Baking, fried apples, pairing with sautéed pork chops}
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Outhouse Orchards, Pennings Orchard

 

Stayman Winesap
Season:
Mid-to-late October
Flavor/Texture: Winey, crisp, and juicy
Best For: Eating, salads, pairing with cheese
Pick It: Barton, Fishkill Farms, Pennings Orchard, Stuart’s

 

 


photo courtesy of westchester land trust

 

Stuart’s Farm

Granite Springs

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

Yorktown

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.

 

 

 

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