FOR MANY New England orchards, the fresh apple harvest is the grand finale to a seasons-long explosion of colorful and flavorful fruits.
It begins with strawberries in May. Raspberries and blueberries follow, and then the stone fruits: cherries and apricots, nectarines and peaches.
It is a dazzling succession of delicious, nutritious food in every color, texture, and shape.
Early season heirloom apples like Red Astrachan and Yellow Transparent are just beginning to be picked at a few orchards. Their season is short, but by mid-August, more than a dozen other apple varieties will ripen on New England’s rolling valleys and hillsides. In the meantime, peach season is nearing its peak.
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FEW FOODS are as luscious or satisfying as a New England-grown peach. Sweet, dripping with juice, and beautiful to behold, the season of native peaches is as eagerly anticipated and savored as sweet corn and tomatoes (many of our orchards grow those, too). They whet the appetite for the bountiful apples that follow.
Some orchards reflect this incredible diversity in their names, like Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Clarkdale’s apple crop is developing nicely, along with plums, pears, squash, and pumpkins. In the meantime, they are enjoying a bountiful peach harvest.
There are similar stories around New England. Visit orchard listings to see who has peaches and other crops for purchase or picking. Be sure to call ahead to see what’s available.