If you’re going to bite into a ripe juicy apple on a crisp autumn afternoon, you’d do well to be standing under the tree from which it came. This harvest season, head away from the produce aisle and north of the city to the source, where you can breathe in the fresh countryside air, feel blessed by all the bounty, and stock up for those cobblers, appletinis, and pies your friends and family will be expecting.
We’ve selected six places for your next apple picking adventure, and all you need is a healthy sweet tooth and a train (or bus) ticket to get there.
1. Maskers Orchard | Warwick, NY | maskers.com
Why crop up here: In addition to a breathtaking 200-acre setting (with plenty of romantic corners), horned goats and cute-as-Wilbur pigs, Maskers Country Store has shelves filled with apple butter and fresh jams, and the perfect picnic basket to take all your goods home in.
The Apples: Macintosh, Cortlands, Granny Smith, Jonagold, McCowan, Mutsu, Red & Golden Delicious
When to chew: Weekends, 9:00a.m.-5:00p.m.
How to get there: Take the New Jersey Transit’s #196 or #197 bus from Port Authority to the Warwick Station (the bus route is via Willowbrook). The orchard is 1 mile down the road. Take a walk or call Josie’s taxi at 845.986.8073.
2. Outhouse Orchards | New Salem, NY | oM Review
Why crop up here: Local families come just for the apple cider doughnuts. Walk past the goats and clucking roosters and into the large market for some fresh produce, Pennsylvania Dutch candies, jugs of apple cider, or jams. You can also pick your own pumpkins and explore a corn maze. Oh, and did we mention those doughnuts?
The Apples: Ten varieties, including Red Delicious, Granny Smith, and McIntosh
When to chew: Open daily 9:00a.m.-4:30p.m.. Apple picking is 10:00a.m.-5:00p.m.
How to get there: Take Metro North Railroad from Grand Central to Croton Falls station stop. Cabs wait at the station to take city folks to the Orchards, three miles up the road.
3. Fishkill Farms | Fishkill, NY | fishkillfarms.com
Why crop up here: Come for the apples and stay for the hayrides, live music, and barbecues. Over the summer, you can also pick your own cherries, berries, peaches, nectarines.
The Apples: There are 15 varieties to chose from, including Idared, Red Delicious, Macoun, Granny Smith, and McIntosh
When to chew: 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m., 7 days a week (Note: there is a $5 entrance fee)
How to get there: Take the Metro North’s Hudson Line to Beacon station. Then take about a 20 minute taxi ride.
4. Jenkins & Luekin Orchards | New Paltz, NY | jlorchards.com
Why crop up here: This family orchard is over 50 years old and has delicious apple cider from their own cider mill, local honey, and freshly made treats in the bakery. Pick your own pumpkins, enjoy a hayride, or do the free corn maze.
The Apples: If you hit the season right, usually during the last week of September and the first two weeks of October, all 12 varieties—that includes Macoun, McIntosh, Rome Beauty, Red Delicious—will be available.
When to chew: Weekdays and Weekends, 9:00a.m.-6:00p.m.
How to get there: Take the Trailways bus from Port Authority to New Paltz bus (and taxi) station in downtown. Hop a 10 minute cab to the farm.
5. Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm | Yorktown Heights, NY | wilkensfarm.com
Why crop up here: Close to FDR’s home, here you can pick peaches, purchase honey, maple syrup, fresh baked fruit pies, apple strudel sticks, and cider doughnuts.
The Apples: 14 varieties, including Gala, McIntosh, Granny Smith, Fuji, Baldwin
When to chew: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 10:00a.m.-4:30p.m.
How to get there: Take Metro North to Croton Harmon. Call a cab in advance. (1335 White Hill Road, 914.245.5111)
6. Meadowbrook Farm | Wappinger, NY | meadowbrookfarmmarket.com
Why crop up here: A giant orchard near also near the FDR estate and Vanderbilt Mansion, the giant orchard. Feed the goats and chickens, pick pumpkins, and munch on cider doughnuts at the picnic tables.
The Apples: Cortlands, McIntosh, Empires, Red & Golden Delicious
When to chew: Saturday and Sunday, 9:00a.m.-6:00p.m.
How to get there: Take Metro North to New Hamburg. Call 845.297.8294 for A-1 taxi and ride less than 10 minutes.
Photo: Jeff Kubina