Apple Season Has Arrived!

The orchard in early morning fog at Pine Hill Orchards, Colrain, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)

WELCOME to the 2020 apple season — and to our weekly apple blog. New posts will be published before every weekend between now and the end of November to help consumers navigate their visits to the orchard during this year made novel by the coronavirus.

Apple season in New England begins with a trickle, with antiques like Red Astrachan and Yellow Transparent ripening in late July. They are good apples, but their shelf-life is short.

Next comes a wave of early apples in August, a prelude to the full harvest to come. Many orchards now have available varieties like Dandee Red, Early McIntosh, Jersey Mac, Pristine, and Vista Bella.

Akane, Ginger Gold, Paula Red, Sansa, Williams’ Pride, and Zestar! and heirlooms like Gravenstein will be among the varieties ready for picking at many orchards later this month.

We’ll announce these and other varieties as they become available in the region’s orchards, and provide up-to-the-minute information about how and when to visit your favorite orchard. As always, consult our Orchard Finder for details, and call ahead to learn about conditions and find out what is available.

Here are some early reports, and some models for how orchards will operate this fall: 

Flowers mingle with apples to keep the pollinators fed at Clarkdale Fruit Farm in Deerfield, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)

Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield, Massachusetts, has already been picking Vista Bella apples, and expects to have Jersey Macs this weekend. They expect to have peaches right through the month of September. Clarkdale’s farm store will be open with drive-up ordering.

Dandee Red are among the early season apples ready for harvest at Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)

Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton, Massachusetts, will have Dandee Red apples and peaches. Customers order outside, rather than entering, the farm store.

Although hit by hail earlier this summer Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain, Massachusetts, will have plenty of apples this fall, beginning with Ginger Gold, Paula Red, Vista Bella, and Zestar!, plus peaches and nectarines, this weekend. Their farm store has reopened, and their restaurant will be open for limited hour and takeout only beginning Wednesday.

Buell’s Orchard in Eastford, Connecticut, has peaches and blueberries to pick, and its farm stand has tomatoes, sweet corn, and other vegetables. The farm store has moved outdoors; visitors can purchase Buell’s full range of products under tents in the orchard.

McDougal Orchards in Springvale, Maine, will have Jersey Macs available for picking and will have a limited amount of apples, nectarines, and peaches in the farm store. 

The orchard will be limiting the number of cars in the orchard through a reservation system. For most of August, McDougal’s expects to take many customers as walk-ins, but they encourage reservations. Reservations are for weekend pick-your-own only. They will not be required for the farm store or weekdays.

This year more than ever, consult the Orchard Finder to locate your favorite orchard, and call ahead to see if reservations or other special practices are required.

Peaches are ready at many apple orchards like Pine Hill Orchards, Colrain, Massachusetts (above), Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Deerfield, Massachusetts, and Buell’s Orchard, Easton, Connecticut. (Russell Steven Powell)