As summer leads to autumn and leaves change color, the orchards of Long Island welcome the return of apple-picking season because their sweet, delicious bounty has ripened to fruity perfection.
In celebration of the harvest, 10 local growers that open their farms to the eager pick-your-own-apples crowd also host activities ranging from corn mazes to wagon rides that make for lifelong family friendly memories. And what’s not to love about delectable apple cider, savory caramel apples or good old-fashioned apple pie?
What follows is our annual list of must-see apple picking orchards to visit this fall. Apple picking on Long Island couldn’t look better this year, but remember always to call ahead and make sure these popular orchards haven’t already been picked clean! You want to go out on a limb for something, not nothing.
Davis Peach Farm
Hulse Landing Rd., Wading River. 631-929-1115. Call for times.
This orchard doesn’t just have peaches, they also open their farm to annual apple picking, not to mention all the other fruits and vegetables available at their farm stand. They expect to open for apple picking season on Saturday, Sept. 3, but anticipate being picked clean by the end of the month, so act fast!
Fort Salonga Farm
30 Meadow Glen Rd., Northport. 631-269-9666. fortsalongafarm.com $20 per bushel.10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday though Sunday.
These growers are well-known not only for their apple varieties, but also for their delicious raspberries. This farm has “dwarfed” apple trees in which apples sit only 18 inches from the ground, the ideal size for the little ones to join in on the fun. Fort Salonga is a small orchard, and as a result, will sometimes close temporarily when there is no ripe fruit, so call in advance. This orchard has Paula Red and Akane available as of Aug. 26, and Fuji apples ready to pick in October.
Harbes Family Farm and Orchard
5698 Sound Ave., Riverhead. 631-369-1111. harbesfamilyfarm.com $8. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every weekend in September and October.
This 15-acre orchard’s apples are low enough for even the littlest pickers to reach. They open to apple pickers on Saturday, Sept. 3. The farm also has a handy apple-ripening schedule detailing when their two dozen varieties are available here. While you’re at their farm stand, don’t forget to try their wines, apple turnovers and homemade apple-cider donuts!
812 Sound Ave., Calverton. 631 929-4327. lewinfarm.com 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, except Tuesday.
These farmers expect their apples to be available to pick from late August through October, but they encourage pickers to call or visit their website first. The farm is also open to self-picking a large selection of other crops, including raspberries, peaches, peppers, eggplants and pumpkins. Their magnificent 5-acre corn maze is redesigned every year to challenge even their repeat customers.
Milk-Pail Farm and Orchard
1346 Montauk Hwy., Watermill. milk-pail.com $47 per 20-lb. bag. 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday through Saturday. 10 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m. Sunday.
This orchard kicks off their apple-picking season on Saturday, Sept. 3. The farm’s variety of “dwarf” apple trees allows kids of all ages to pick apples without difficulty. The Milk-Pail Farm also offers pick-your-own pumpkins with gourds ranging in size. Don’t forget to check out their fresh market, where they serve their famous apple cider!
Seven Ponds Orchard
65 Seven Ponds Rd., Watermill. 631 726-8015 facebook.com/Seven-Ponds-Orchard 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Thanksgiving.
Besides apples, Seven Pounds Orchard is an entirely you-pick farm with berries and vegetables. Ginger Gold and Red Free apples opened for picking Aug. 21, and Red Delicious, Macintosh and Honey Crisp are expected in September, plus Granny Smith in November. The kids will be entertained for hours with a hayride, corn maze and toy land!
The Apple Orchard at Hank’s Pumpkintown
240 Montauk Hwy., Watermill. 631-726-4667. hankspumpkintown.com $23 per 10 lb. bag. 9:30 to 6 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Columbus Day.
Hank’s Pumpkintown has it all. Here, visitors can pick pumpkins, berries and 14 varieties of apples available from early September through late October. In addition, visitors can also get lost in a corn maze, ride a corn train, milk a cow, watch a duck race and enjoy much more. Plus, their farm stand sells fresh-baked pies, cookies, cup cakes, candy apples, apple cider donuts and lots more! See their apple ripeness schedule here.
Wickham’s Fruit Farm
28700 Main Rd., Cutchogue. 631-734-6441. wickhamsfruitfarm.com 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
Wickham’s fruit is grown on some of the oldest cultivated land in the country, dating back to 1661. Besides apples, their you-pick farm lets families harvest strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches and pumpkins. Wickham’s also has Long Island’s oldest cider press, delicious baked goods—including apple cider donuts—specialty cheeses as well as homemade pies and jams. The apples are available in September and October.
Windy Acres Farm
3810 Middle Country Rd., Calverton. 631-727-4554. facebook.com/Windy-Acres-Farm 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
This family farm boasts a fantastic apple selection as well as other fruits and vegetables. Known to be a great place to get all your local produce needs, Windy Acres also has fresh baked pies and hot apple cider donuts. They also have a playground and a tractor ride for the kids.
Aquebogue: Route 25; Jamesport: Manor Lane. 631-722-5770. woodsideorchards.com $15 per peck, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at Aquebogue location; same time on Saturday and Sunday at Jamesport location.
Woodside Orchards has nearly 30 varieties of apples, including some that even regular apple aficionados may not have heard of. The orchard’s dwarf trees allow apple pickers of all sizes to avoid struggling for those annoyingly hard-to-reach apples. Besides the apples, they also offer delicious local honey, baked goods and the only full-time hard cidery on Long Island. Both locations are open for you-pick apples from Sept. 17 through October while supplies last.
This story by Michael Bakshandeh has originally appeared in Long Island Press.