My toddler is running up a hill to the first stand of apple trees at Outhouse Orchards. He stops in his tracks when he sees people holding picking poles. Then he points up. “Eat some?”
Sampling is only part of the fun of pick your own apples. There’s the hunt for the perfect apple, the serenity that comes from wandering through a farm, and the satisfaction felt when you plunk your final apple in the bushel.
There are an abundance of apple picking orchards in Westchester County. Most of the farms allow you to pick as many apples as you can carry in a 1/2 bushel for about $25. Many sell homemade pies, jellies, and warm cider donuts. Sometimes there’s even a hayride.
Apple picking season officially began on Labor Day, and every week or so another variety of apple becomes available, with McIntosh often the first to come in early September and Granny Smiths ripening as nights turn cooler in October. Local orchards are reporting an early apple season, so plan your trip in the next few weeks. Here’s a guide to apple picking farms in the area.
Overview: Located on 100 acres in North Salem, Outhouse Orchards is an apple picking paradise. Every time you think you’re done picking, you turn a corner on the farm and find another orchard. Expect to fill a 1/2 bushel bag (that’s 40 to 60 apples for $25) with McIntosh, Cortland, and later in the season, Red Delicious and Empires. A hay ride costs extra but takes you on a twenty minute tour of the orchards, a pretty way to see the rolling hills of the farm.
Kids Will Love: the corn maze. Let them find their way through the labyrinth of corn husks.
Good to Know: Outhouse Orchards also sells pizza to keep little bellies from grumbling. Plus, it’s easy to park here for a fee — you just got to inchworm your way down Hardscrabble Road to the entrance.
139 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem; 914-277-3188
Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard
Overview: Located on 66 acres in North Salem, Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard is located directly across the road from Outhouse Orchards. In September, you can pick McIntosh and Bosch pears. Then come the Cortland and Red Delicious. A farm shop here sells homemade pies and cider donuts. Warning: On a busy Saturday, this place is a zoo.
Kids Will Love: the farm animals! Kids can get a close-up look at the barnyard animals.
Good to know: Traffic can back up down Hardscrabble Road to 678 so try to get an early start. The good news: It moves pretty fast.
130 Hardscrabble Rd, North Salem; 914-485-1210. Open 7 days a week, 10am to 5pm
Overview: After paying for your bag, take a hay ride out to the orchards. The orchard requires a 1/4 bushel minimum (11 pounds) for you to enter the pick-your-own apple orchards; it may sound like a lot but it fills up fast. There are 12 different varieties of apples to pick from, including Macouns, Golden Delicious, Cortlands and Crispins, although not all are available at the same time. Check out the Wilkens Farm apple availability calendar before you go. There’s also a farm shop selling strudel sticks, apple cider donuts and pies, all homemade on the premises. Kids Will Love: Wilkens’ homemade apple cider. It’s pressed from five different apple varieties.
Good to know: They take MasterCard and Visa. Plus, Wilkens Farm posts a variety of apple recipes on their website, from Wilkens Favorite Apple Pie to New York State Apple Muffins. Yum.
1335 White Hill Road, Yorktown Heights; 914-245-5111. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10:30 to 4:30.
Overview: A six generation working farm in Somers — someone still lives in the original 1760 farmhouse — Stuart’s Farm is the oldest apple farm in Westchester County. The farm has over 200 acres of orchards, featuring nine different varieties of apples. A friend who grew up 1/4 mile down the road swears by Stuart’s Macoun apples. “They’re the world’s best!” she told me. A 1/2 bushel is $25. They also bake their own pies, scones, muffins, apple cider donuts and streusel. Don’t miss the barn: It sells cookies and fresh produce from the farm.
Fun Fact: The farm was used in the filming of Will Smith’s “I Am Legend.”
Kids Will Love: the hayride, which runs only on weekends. It goes past the pumpkin patch and apple orchard to the top of the hill where you can see expansive views of Connecticut. Plus, the fall foliage from this viewpoint is a stunning array of colors. $3 per person.
Good to know: Parking is free.
62 Granite Springs Rd, Granite Springs; 914-245-2784. Apple picking is available 7 days a week, 10am to 5pm until the apples run out.
Dr. Davies Farm
Overview: Just over the Tappan Zee Bridge, about 30 minutes from White Plains, Dr. Davies is another regional favorite, just a stone’s throw from Westchester County. But get ready to pay: A 1/2 bushel bag here costs $37 to fill. There are 4,000 apples trees on the property so you won’t have a problem finding apples. Dr. Davies presses their own cider, which you can sample at the farm stand, and there is a market selling everything from pumpkins to fresh veggies. A hayride around the farm ($5 per person) takes you to the pumpkin patch; it costs $3 to pick a pumpkin.
Fun Fact: Dr. Davies has been a family operated farm since 1891.
Kids Will Love: the tractors! There are a few tractors that kids can sit on and take pictures with.
Good to know: Cash only; no credit cards accepted.
306 Route 304, Congers; 845-268-7020. Apple picking available seven days a week from 10am to 4pm.
Did we miss a great apple orchard in the region? Email us at info@weewestchester and tell us about it.