AN APPLE is many things.
Apples are a valuable food, first and foremost, chock full of phytonutrients and antioxidants, high in fiber, low in fat, deliciously sweet (or tart).
Apples are extremely versatile, enjoyed fresh or cooked, paired with almost any other food, served at any meal.
Apples are historic, direct descendants from their original tree, cultural icons from Apple computers to Adam and Eve, an indelible part of our local heritage, depending on where and when it was grown.
An apple is a thing of beauty, a sensual sculpture bursting in shades of red, yellow, green, with a satisfying crunch and a heady aroma.
Apples are convenient. As we find ourselves walking more than ever during these days of social distancing, apples are the perfect snack to take along.
They fit easily in purse or pocket. Filled with juice, apples never leak. They satisfy thirst and provide a welcome burst of energy and sweetness at any time, but especially during exercise.
Apples are the original juice box. There are no added sugars, and no paper or plastic or foil to throw away, just a biodegradable core that can nourish other wildlife.
There is still time to feast on crisp and juicy New England-grown Cortland, Empire, Gala, Honeycrisp, and McIntosh apples at supermarkets and select orchard stores. Rarer varieties like Braeburn, EverCrisp, Jonagold, Pink Lady, and Stayman can still be found at some orchards.
Orchard stores open in Connecticut include:
The Apple Barrel at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield has been open every day since it reopened for the season March 14. The store has added a limited line of chicken and meat and more take-out offerings to its usual fare of produce, dairy, grocery, prepared foods, and baked goods.
Buell’s Orchard in Eastford has a good selection of apples, and is selling them preordered for curbside pickup.
Holmberg Orchards in Gales Ferry is accepting telephone and email orders and delivering them curbside.
Rogers Orchards in Southington is offering curbside pickup seven days a week from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. They are offering nine varieties of apples, fresh apple cider, apple cider donuts, fresh-baked pies and coffee cakes as well as fresh vegetables, citrus, local bread, milk, eggs, cheese, and honey .
Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford expects its stock of apples to last for most of April, along with cider, their own applesauce, apple butter, and fruit wines.
Like the Apple Barrel, Bishop’s Farm Market also offers produce, meat, dairy, grocery, prepared foods, and baked goods. Bishop’s has been limiting the number of customers in the market, but online ordering is available for curbside pickup.
Staffing has been a challenge, says owner Keith Bishop. Bishop’s is hiring workers, he says, as about one-third of their regular staff are currently on leave due to family needs or health concerns. Bishop’s is accepting digital applications and conducting interviews on Zoom, and they have increased the hourly pay for retail workers by $2 through the beginning of May in an effort to attract staff.
In Massachusetts, orchard stores open for business include Atkins Farm in Amherst, Bolton Orchards in Bolton, Phoenix Fruit Farm in Belchertown, and Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain. The stores offer a wide range of apples, produce, and other products, depending on location; visit their websites for more information.
In Maine, the store at Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but they also offer curbside pickup. Cortland, Gala, Honeycrisp, and McIntosh apples are still available.
Orchard Ridge Farm in Gorham has sold out of apples, but it continues to make cider donuts daily and its own brand of applesauce and apple butter, plus apple salsa.
Applecrest Farm Orchards in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, is offering curbside pickup for its apples, produce, dairy, grocery, prepared foods, and baked goods.
As always, consult our Orchard Finder to learn more about these and other fine New England orchards.