It’s Peak Time in the Orchard

Owner Brian Kelliher of Easy Pickin’s Orchard, Enfield, Connecticut, with fresh-picked Macouns. Macoun is considered one of the best fresh-eating apples. (Russell Steven Powell)

MOST NEW ENGLAND APPLE GROWERS feature a range of varieties, including classics like Cortland and McIntosh that ripen in early to mid-September, and popular newer apples like Gala and Honeycrisp.

They are ready for pick-your-own and are filling the bins and baskets wherever New England apples are sold.

This varietal mix is varied enough to satisfy most people, whether they prefer a sweet or a tart apple.

Yet one of the beguiling qualities of apples is their sheer numberand their seasons within seasons. From August to November in the orchard, a steady succession of varieties provides an endless treat for the taste buds.  

The crisp Ginger GoldsGravensteins, and Paula Reds of August have been picked, and will only be available in stores for a few more weeks.

But outstanding mid-season apples like Empire and Macoun are ripening now, with Fuji and Jonagold not far behind.

Late-season varieties like EverCrispGolden DeliciousMutsu, and Cripps Pink (Pink Lady), plus cherished heirlooms like BaldwinNorthern Spy, and Roxbury Russet are still to come, harvested this month into November.

There are amazing apples that are not yet well-known and available in only a few orchards, hiding behind nondescript names like Creston and Topaz.

There are rare apples with challenging names like Esopus SpitzenburgKarmijn de Sonnaville, and Shizuka.

This holiday weekend brings many of these varieties together at their fresh peak. It is an ideal time to stock up on your favorites or discover some exciting new tastes.

Creston is crisp and juicy, developed in Canada in 1998, Tougas Family Farm, Northborough, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)

No two orchards are the same. The apples listed here are just a fraction of the more than 200 varieties grown in New England!

To learn more about an apple and to find out where it is grown, consult the Apple finder on our home page,

As always, call the orchard ahead to see what is picking, and when.

Click on the apple or orchard name to learn more about it!

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This Monroe apple is still stunning despite light scarring from frost. The imperfection is harmless and tasteless. High Hill Orchard, Meriden, Connecticut. (Russell Steven Powell)

NEW ENGLAND’S APPLE GROWERS do a remarkable job producing beautiful fruit that is as good to look at as it is good to eat, year after year. But among many thousands of harvested apples, there are bound to be some blemishes.

This year, consumers may find more blemishes than usual, the result of frost damage. New England’s May 18 frost killed the nascent flower buds in many orchards. But many apples survived.

These apples are perfectly good to eat but some are misshapen or have a scarring pattern on their skin. It is harmless and tasteless. 

Don’t reject a delicious apple due to this cosmetic flaw!

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THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND may get off to a rainy start, but Sunday and Monday should be perfect fall days, with temperatures in the 60s — ideal for visiting an orchard and sampling the season’s wares.

Topaz, an apple from the Czech Republic, will turn redder when ripe, Tougas Family Farm, Northborough, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
Some consider Eastern Red Delicious to be more flavorful than its larger cousin out west, Blue Hills Orchard, Wallingford, Connecticut. (Russell Steven Powell)
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Golden Delicious apples are not related to Red Delicious, despite their similar shape. Norton Brothers Fruit Farm, Cheshire, Connecticut. (Russell Steven Powell)
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Jonagold has Honeycrisp’s explosive crispness with more apple flavor, Tougas Family Farm Northborough, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
Liberty has Macoun in its heritage, High Hill Orchard, Meriden, Connecticut. (Russell Steven Powell)
In addition to its deep red color, Empire is a mix of sweet (Red Delicious) and tart (McIntosh) from its parents, Blue Hills Orchard, Wallingford, Connecticut. (Russell Steven Powell)
Late-season Monroe apples have the rich red color of their Jonathan parent, High Hill Orchard, Meriden, Connecticut. (Russell Steven Powell)
Kinsei apples from Japan are a staff favorite at Easy Pickin’s Orchard, Enfield, Connecticut. (Russell Steven Powell)

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