In New England, apple picking seems to be an annual local fall tradition. So, in the spirit of my favorite season, I wanted to go pick some apples. P, on the other hand, blatantly refused to accompany me. He complained that his grandfather would roll over in his grave if P ever paid to pick apples, a daily chore that he loathed as a child when he lived on his grandfather’s farm. He had a point, but still… I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Lucky for him, my friend, Meg, agreed to go with me.
After researching all the apple orchards / farms near Boston and getting tips from friends who had already gone apple picking, we decided to go to Shelburne Farm in Stow, Massachusetts, about an hour away from the city. Most of the other farms that we were considering either had a reputation for being mismanaged and over-crowded or had little to no more apples on their trees. Shelburne Farm not only had plenty of apples to pick from, but also apple cider donuts, hot apple cider, a pumpkin patch, and fun activities for kids, like pony rides and corn mazes.
When we arrived, the orchard was already filled with families and children running around, filling their bags with apples. The smell of the apple cider was pretty wonderful, so Meg and I opted to head straight for the food stall first for some hot cider and apple cider donuts. Priorities, right?
After we finished devouring our treats, we headed to the orchards. We got a peck bag (enough for about 20 apples) for us to share and went for the sweet apples. The staff were really helpful in guiding us around the orchard. As predicted, most of the apple trees closer to the entrance were pretty bare and picked dry. We had to walk towards the end of the row of trees and sometimes needed the help of ladders to be able to reach the best looking apples. We got some apples that we normally couldn’t find in our local supermarkets and went home pretty satisfied with our loot.
I can see why apple picking is a popular fall activity, but I’ll probably just stick to getting my apples from my neighborhood Trader Joe’s. It was fun to catch up with Meg as we climbed trees (totally not allowed but sometimes, we were too lazy to go find a ladder), shook some branches (also not allowed, but it seemed like the best solution at the time), and tried literally 10 types of apples throughout the day. Time to go make that apple pie!