WITH CLEAR SKIES and warm temperatures predicted, this weekend is an ideal time to visit a New England orchard.
Early season apples are ready to pick at many orchards, the peach season is in full swing, and, yes, there are cider donuts! Look for other fruits and vegetables, too, as well as locally made products.
Many of New England’s diversified orchards have blueberries, raspberries, peaches, and pears in addition to apples. Here are a few reports from around the region:
Carlson Orchards in Harvard, Massachusetts, has Jersey Mac apples and plenty of peaches available this weekend.
Carver Hill Orchard in Stow, Massachusetts, has pick-your-own peaches and vegetables this weekend.
Green Mountain Orchards in Putney, Vermont, has a bumper blueberry crop, pick-your-own peaches and early apple varieties available this weekend.
Russell Orchards in Ipswich, Massachusetts, has Jersey Macs this weekend, plus lots of fruits and vegetables.
In northern New England, the crop is a little later. Chapin Orchard in Essex Junction, Vermont, opens September 5, with early varieties like Paula Red, Duchess of Oldenburg, Williams’ Pride, and Red Free.
WHILE NEW ENGLAND’S crop is smaller than usual this year, there will be plenty of good apples throughout the fall and winter.
This has been a challenging year for New England’s orchards. In addition to the pandemic, there was a light bloom in some orchards. “June drop,” a naturally occurring period when apple trees shed surplus fruit, was heavier than usual.
There was scattered hail throughout the region, especially in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Tropical Storm Isaias brought damaging winds to parts of Connecticut. Less rain fell than was expected, though, and much of New England has experienced mild to moderate drought conditions this summer.
Still, the season is off to a good start. Pick-your-owns are thriving as people are eager to get outdoors.
It’s not just the chance to come home with a bag of fresh fruit that draws people. Strolling among the trees, loaded with peaches or apples, is beautiful and tranquil, filled with the fragrance of ripening fruit. You might even spot bluebirds flitting among the trees!
Consult our Orchard Finder to see what’s available and plan your visit!
HAIL is the bane of apple growers, who can nurture a crop throughout the spring and summer only to see the fruit damaged in minutes during a late-season storm. One orchard we visited was hit three times in as many weeks!
Don’t let a few dings and blemishes keep you from enjoying fresh New England apples. They’re mostly cosmetic; the fruit is perfectly delicious.