With summer in the rearview, it’s time to dive right into fall—and that means making a trip to a local orchard for apple picking with the kids. (September is really the month to do it, and yes, some apples are already ripe.) Whether you want your u-pick experience to include a bouncy house, corn maze, and petting zoo, or prefer a lower-key, tractor ride and farm stand with a side of apple cider, there’s a u-pick apple orchard near NYC for you and the family. (A general tip: as different varieties ripen at different times of the season, it’s best to consult a farm’s u-pick schedule online to see when your favorites are ready for picking.) Now: ready, set, pick!

fishkill farms

photo: via Fishkill Farms Facebook page 

New York

Fishkill Farms
Fishkill Farms has been around for eager apple pickers since the 1960’s, and this year is no different.  This environmentally-friendly farm, where you can find either organically grown apples or those certified “Eco Apple” by Red Tomato, has a mission of “growing good food in harmony with nature.” Besides its massive apple orchard, Fishkill grows peaches, nectarines, black currants, pumpkins and flowers which are all seasonally available for pick-your-own.

While the farm is open daily, come on the weekends to enjoy free hayrides (mid-September through mid-October) and mouthwatering hamburgers, hot dogs and grilled farm vegetables straight off an apple-wood grill.  Seasonal events include yoga on the farm, live music, line dancing and flower workshops, and you don’t want to miss the farm’s “Fall Harvest Festival Weekends” which feature hayrides, homemade donuts and cider, and live music. Don’t miss the hard cider garden, where you can have a tree-to-glass experience overlooking the orchards.

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Hours:  Daily, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Last pick starts at 5 p.m.)

Price: There is a $5 admission charge for adults and children over the age of 12 plus the cost of picking. (Admission is free on Tuesdays!) Fruit and veggies and priced by weight—use Fishkill’s containers to make checkout easiest.

9 Fishkill Farm Rd.
Hopewell JCT, NY
845-897-4377
Online: fishkillfarms.com

wilkens farm

photo: via Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm Facebook page

Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm
Only an hour north of NYC, Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm offers seasonal pickings of peaches, apples, pumpkins, and even coniferous (aka “fir”) trees come Christmas time. They know what they’re doing: this year marks the farm’s 102nd season. Stop by the bakery for homemade pies, apple-cider donuts and other treats, or check out their Apple Farm Market for a pre-picked variety of apples and other farm-fresh fruits, jams, syrups, honey and healthy snacks such as apple chips and granola. Need a seasonal gift basket or some Wilkens swag? Check out the Country Market for country-themed gift baskets galore. as well as their custom-designed souvenir shirts, tote bags and caps.

Hours:  Daily, Pick-Your-Own:  10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Markets:  10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Price:  Admission and wagon rides are free; prices for apples vary depending on weather and variety of apples.  While there is a 1/4 bushel minimum for entering the orchard you can purchase smaller quantities of pre-picked apples in the Farm Market.

1335 White Hill Rd.
Yorktown Heights, NY
914-245-5111
Online: wilkensfarm.com

Masker Orchards
Way back in 1913 Ora and Rena Masker had a good feeling about the 200 acres of farmland they purchased in Warwick, New York. Masker Orchards is now a hopping spot for families looking for fall fun, thanks to a dedicated “Family Fun Area” where you will find pony rides, a haunted house, an apple maze, face painting, live music and more. An on site snack barn sells kid-friendly fare such as pizza, ice cream, apple cider and fresh apple pie. Fall 2016 picking season started September 3rd, and the orchards are filled with 14 different varieties of apples. Check out the Masker’s orchard ripening schedule to see when you’re favorite ones will be ready for picking.

Hours:  Daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Price:  Free admission and parking.  Apples:  $29.95/bag; Cider: $3.95/jug

45 Ball Rd.
Warwick, NY
845-986-1058
Online: maskers.com

harvest moon

photo: A.D. via Yelp

Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
This family-owned and operated farm offers a robust selection of fresh and healthy food grown on site, from herbs, vegetables and fruits to vegetable-fed, antibiotic and hormone-free broad breasted bronze turkeys, and farm fresh free-range eggs. The Harvest Moon Farm Fall Festival (weekend in September and October) is a big to-do. Beyond apple and pumpkin picking, you’ll find hayrides, bouncy castles, pony rides, face painting, ‘apple cannons’, live music and more. (Bring cash—it’s pay as you go for each activity.)  A country store sells lots of locally-produced goods, like honey, dairy and cheese products, maple syrup and all types of freshly-made baked treats. FYI: Aside from service dogs, dogs are no longer allowed on the property.

Hours:  Daily, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. April through Christmas
Apple Picking:  Daily, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. September and October

Fall Festival:  Saturdays and Sundays in September and October
Price:  $5/person entrance fee, and $30 for a large bag (you must use the orchard’s bag for picking).
914-485-1210
North Salem, NY
Online: harvestmoonfarmandorchard.com

Barton Orchards
Located in Poughquag, New York, Barton Orchards features several attractions that take the apple picking experience to the next level, including a real petting zoo, a five-acre corn maze, a wooden ships playground, a haunted house and live music.  (Come on a weekend and you will also get unlimited hayrides.)  The fall season brings festivals every weekend, such as Fall Fest, Sept. 8 and 9, and Apple Fest, Sept. 15 and 16.  The big news at Barton this year that they are introducing two new attractions: a dog park and Tree Top Adventure (opening TBD). With over 120 acres of apple trees, apple picking is available from mid-August through November; see the rough schedule here for picking. You can also find a pumpkin patch ripe for picking from late September to the end of October.  But if you want to expand to other fruits and vegetables, there is a seasonal assortment that ranges from peaches, tomatoes, peppers, and green beans to eggplant, cucumbers and squash. Venture just a bit off site and enjoy Barton Orchards’ Farm Market and Bakery, where you’ll find pies and cakes, among other fresh delectables.

Hours:  Pick-Your-Own at the Farm:  Daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fun Park:  Weekends, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Price:  $6 admission, which gets you a hayride, petting zoo, wooden ship playground, hay maze, and more. Fun Pass pricing may vary in high season and is currently $17.  The cost for apple picking is by bag size (you must use a Barton Orchards bag): Peck Bag/ ¼ bushel is currently $16 and the ½ bushel bag is $26.

63 Apple Tree Ln.
Poughquag, NY
845-227-2306
Online: bartonorchards.com

Jenkins-Leuken Orchards
Another orchard for purists (i.e., giant inflatables and the like won’t be found here), Jenkins-Leuken Orchards is home to 500 apple trees of scores of varieties. (McIntosh, gala, empire, cortland, fortune, jonagold, macoun and fuji among them.) The farm offers lovely views of Mohonk Tower and the Shawangunk escarpment to the west, and uses an integrated pest management system to keep chemical spraying to a minimum. Picking at this family-run farm begins September 1 this year, and you can get a sense of when your favorite variety is ripe and ready by checking this rough schedule, although of course it’s always best to call to be sure. You’ll also find loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods made with the farm’s bounty and freshly made donuts and cider. Plus, the farm is now making small batch hard cider at its new Yankee Folly Cidery. Take note: you can also pick your own pumpkin here, as well as berries in the summer.

Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily

69 Yankee Folly Rd.
845-255-0999
Nee Paltz, NY
Online: jlorchards.com

alstede farms

photo: via Alstede Farms Facebook page 

New Jersey

Alstede Farms
A family-owned 600 acre farm, Alstede Farms prizes “health, freshness, quality, integrity, quality of life.”  They use only sustainable and USDA-certified organic production methods for growing a vast array of local fruits, vegetables and flowers but they also make sure to give families a fun farm experience.Find out what you can pick today with this handy guide.

This place is popular, and you should expect crowds. Events and experiences here include food festivals and pancake breakfasts, a Fall Festival, hayrides, a giant corn or sunflower maze (depending on the season), a bouncy house and live music. A huge variety of friendly farm animals live here, such as horses, goats, donkeys, sheep, cows, chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, and rabbits that you can feed, and kids can take a pony ride, too. In other words: the kids will not be bored. The farm offers Pick Your Own fruits and vegetables, as well as a Community Supported Agriculture Program. The Alstede Farm Store is chockfull of fresh fruits and vegetables from the fields, local honey, homemade ice cream and pies, cider donuts and much, much more.

Hours:  Pick Your Own is open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Price:  Pick Your Own admission pricing varies on the time of day, and day of the week. A full beakdown of pricing (and online ticket sales for both picking and kids activities) can be found here. Apples are sold by weight and are $2.29/pound. Containers used for picking produce are $2 flat.

1 Alstede Farms Ln.
Chester, NJ
908-879-7189
Online: alstedefarms.com

terhune

photo: Mike O. via Yelp

Terhune Orchards
One of the big draws at Terhune is the dwarf apple trees, which kids can pick from without using poles or ladders. Visitors can also get up close and personal with the barnyard animals and feed the goats, sheep, horses, ducks, geese and chickens. The farms hosts Family Fall Fun weekends in September and October with pony rides, wagon rides, corn and hay bale mazes, as well as live music, face-painting and pumpkin painting. For those of you who like a little wine to relax after a full day of family fun, don’t forget to pick up a bottle of wine from the Terhune Orchards winery, where you will find 12 varieties of wine.  The orchard’s Pick Your Own season starts in May and ends in October, offering an assortment of berries in the spring/summer months and apples and pumpkins in the fall. You can check out the schedule for what’s in season when, here. 

Hours:  Pick Your Own is open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Price:  No admission fee to pick-your-own apples.  Apples at the Pick Your Own farm are sold by weight.  There is an $8/person admission fee for festivals; free for children under three.

330 Cold Soil Rd.
Princeton, NJ
609-924-2310
Online: terhuneorchards.com

apple girl

photo: Brian Burke via Flickr

Sun High Orchard
Not every apple-picking experience offers the chance to befriend an alpaca named “Jersey Gold”, but that’s how they roll at Sun High Orchards. (Guests can also meet the resident mini donkey “Jessica.”) Visitors are encouraged to stay a while and relax at a shaded picnic table area while enjoying homemade ice cream, apple cider donuts, fruit pies and cookies.  Additional autumnal products include fall decor items such as corn stalks, Indian corn and gourds or, should you be so fortunate to have a fireplace you can fill up your truck with self-serve stacks of firewood and pay via the adjacent mailbox.  Apple picking occurs in September and October, and while bags are free, the apples are sold by the pound. (FYI: need some firewood? Stop by the self-serve stand at Sun High and load up!)

Hours:  Daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Price: Apples are sold by the pound and pricing is based on the type of apple.

19 Canfield Ave.
Randolph, NJ
973-584-4734
Online: sunhigh.com

Hillview Farms
Want some unexpected yet pleasant surprises while you go on your apple picking adventure?  Come to Hillview Farms where you may find chickens and peacocks wandering around these grounds.  Apple picking starts in late August and runs through the end of October, but you can also pick your own blueberries, peaches, pumpkins, and flowers here, depending on the season. Tractor rides are available for $5. Live nearby? Hillview also offers school tours during children dig for potatoes, observe the honey bee habitat, see a demonstration of the polishing and sorting of apples, watch how an apple cider press works, hold newly-hatched chickens, and hang out with the goats.

Hours:  Daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Price:  Call farm for updated pricing information.

223 Meyersville Rd.
Gillette, Nj
908-647-0957
Online: hillviewfarms.com

silvermans farm

photo: Cil E. via Yelp

Connecticut

Silverman’s Farm
Founded by Ben Silverman in the early 1920s, this farm started as a cider mill and eventually evolved into a Pick Your Own fruit farm.  You can check out the picking schedule at the orchard here. Special events and live music are held throughout the fall season

Offering by far the most exotic and varied petting farm within driving distance from the city, Silverman’s is home to a menagerie of buffalo, llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats, fallow deer, emus, long-horn cattle and exotic birds.  Whether you take the scenic tractor ride, visit the exotic petting farm, check out the new featured exhibit, Bunnytown, or homemade goods in the farm market, Silverman’s Farm is the total farm experience.

Hours:  Daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Price:  Pre-purchased bags are required before entering orchard. Call for current produce pricing.

451 Sport Hill Rd.
Easton, CT
203-261-3306
Online: silvermansfarm.com

beardsley cider mill orchard

photo: via Beardsley’s Cider Mill & Orchard Facebook page

Beardsley’s Cider Mill & Orchard
Originally a dairy farm, Beardsley’s Cider Mill & Orchard has been around since 1849.  Another farm that’s home to shorter trees, Beardsley’s  currently grows over 10,000 dwarf and semi-dwarf apple trees in its Pick-Your-Own orchards. See cider made at the state-of-the-art press on site, and then check out the 12 types of farm-baked pies for sale, as well as cider donuts, pumpkin cheesecake and more.  The farm store includes fresh-picked plums and nectarines and peaches, the last of which locals rave about.

Hours:  Pick-Your-Own is weekends only, starting September 8 and continuing through October. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; bakery and store are open daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m. through Dec. 24

Price:  Pick Your Own apples are paid by cash or check only and are $1.85/pound. Picking bags are $1.

278 Leavenworth Rd. (Route 110)
Shelton, CT
203-926-1098
Online: beardsleyscidermill.com

cover photo: Tom Shockey via Flickr

Where do you go for prime apple picking? Tell us in the comments below!

—Meredith Levine 

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