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Apples, Apples Everywhere!

Christine Randall - October 4, 2011





Apple-picking excursions are also a great way to enjoy a family outing and build long-lasting family traditions – I still remember our family’s annual trips to a local orchard when I was a kid, and I enjoyed taking our own kids to the orchard as they grew up. Apple-picking is an activity that is hard to beat for family fun.

Apples also play an important role in the New Hampshire economy. Over 180 apple growers in New Hampshire produce an estimated one million bushels of apples per year, according to the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, bringing in about $14 million dollars annually.

While the apples are the main attraction, many orchards also feature other activities and products, including pumpkins and gourds, colorful autumn mums and other flowers, freshly made cider, farm fresh seasonal produce and home-baked goods, hay rides, tractor rides, picnic areas, and scenic views.  Most are open daily through at least Columbus Day, if not later.

Here around the Lakes Region, there are several pick-your-own apple orchards open during the autumn, including Surowiec Farm in Sanbornton, DeVylder’s Farm in Wolfeboro, Cardigan Mountain Orchards in Alexandria, Appleview Orchard in Pittsfield, Smith Orchard in Belmont, Stonybrook Farm in Gilford, Meadow Ledge Farm in Loudon, and Hackleboro Orchards and Great Brook Farm in Canterbury.

Surowiec Farm on Perley Hill Road in Sanbornton is where I usually pick my own apples, featuring Cortland and McIntosh. The trees are well-spaced and numerous, and the orchard is small enough that you can easily walk from section to section.  It doesn’t take long to fill up your apple bags, and if you have several bags, you can use one of the farm’s many small carts to help pull the load.

Surowiec Farm recently started offering pick-your-own pumpkins as well, so you can also find the perfect pumpkins for Halloween. Fresh produce and eight different varieties of apples are available inside the small retail store, in addition to a variety of homemade jams, honey, fresh-baked goods, cider, mums, and pre-harvested pumpkins. Surowiec Farm is located just off of I-93, Exit 22 on Perley Hill Road, and is open daily from 9am until 5pm through the end of October; call 286-4069 for current picking conditions.

DeVylder’s Farm, located at 563 Pleasant Valley Road in Wolfeboro, has pick-your-own McIntosh, Cortland, and Macoun. They also offer visitors hayrides, fresh apple cider and apple cider donuts.  DeVylder’s Farm is open daily from April through October from 9am until 5pm. You can call for more information and directions at 569-4110.

Cardigan Mountain Orchard is located at 1540 Mt. Cardigan Road in Alexandria. They are open daily from Labor Day until Thanksgiving from 10am until 6pm, and they feature over 15 different types of apples. The pick-your-own varieties include McIntosh, Cortland, and Macoun, plus you can pick up other varieties including Empire, Red and Golden Delicious, Northern Spy, and Gravenstein in the store. You can also find fresh apple cider and pie, jams, pickles, and other homemade products at Cardigan Mountain Orchard. For more information and directions, call 744-2248.

Appleview Orchard in Pittsfield features many of the traditional favorite apples, such as McIntosh, Cortlands, Macouns, Red and Golden Delicious, and Empire, plus a few varieties that I’ve never heard of:  Summer Treat, Mollie Delicious, Brock, and Golden Russet. They are open for picking daily from late August until November from 10am until about 6pm, and they welcome school and group tours on weekdays by prior arrangement.

There are free hayrides into the orchard, and you can sample homemade apple fritters and cider in their gift shop. You can also try pressing your own apples and making apple cider in a small cider mill on their front porch. The gift shop has home-baked goods, snacks, and New Hampshire-made products and gifts. Appleview Orchard is located at 1266 Upper City Road in Pittsfield, about one mile from Route 28. For more information, call 435-3553.

At Smith Orchard in Belmont, you can find seven different varieties of apples growing in a 75-year old orchard. Varieties include Macoun, Red and Yellow Delicious, Cortland, McIntosh, Ginger Gold and Jona Gold, and tractor rides are available in and out of the orchard. They also sell pumpkins and gourds, cider, cornstalks, and home-grown honey, as well as jams and jellies.  The orchard is open until mid-October daily from 9am until 5pm, and they are located at 184 Leavitt Road.  For more information or directions, call 524-9000

Stonybrook Farm on Glidden Road in Gilford has pick-your-own McIntosh and Ginger Gold apples, with tractor-drawn hay wagon rides into and out of the orchard on weekends. At their farm stand, they offer visitors fresh cider and apple spice cake, and you can also pick up colorful mums, pumpkins, maple products, and organic candles. They are open Monday–Friday from 10am until 5pm and weekends from 9am until 5pm until the end of October; groups are welcome by prior arrangement. Stonybrook Farm is located on Glidden Road, two miles east of Gunstock Ski Area on Route 11A.  For more information, call 293-4300.

Meadow Ledge Farm in Loudon grows over 40 different varieties of apples, most of which you can pick yourself, and they offer tractor rides every weekend into and out of the orchard. At the farm stand, you can also find bagged apples, homemade cider and homemade cider donuts, mums, cornstalks, maple products and seasonal vegetables. They are open from 9am until 6pm daily through November 1, and they are located at 612 Route 129 in Loudon. For more information, call 798-5860 or email NHApples@aol.com.

In Canterbury, Great Brook Farm at 335 Hackleboro Road offers twelve different varieties of apples, fresh cider, local produce, pumpkins, pony rides, hayrides to the orchard, and a hay maze, as well as gifts. They are open from 10am until 5pm daily until November 1, and weekends from November 1 until Thanksgiving. They also host special events every weekend. For more information, call 783-4126.

Also in Canterbury, at Hackleboro Orchards you can pick-your-own McIntosh and Cortland, Red and Golden Delicious, Puritan, Empire, and Northern Spy apples. They provide free tractor rides into their orchards, and have mums, cornstalks, pumpkins and gourds, squash, fresh homemade apple cider, honey, baked goods, jams and jellies, cookbooks, and maple products, as well as a picnic area and viewing deck. School groups and tour buses are welcome.

Hackleboro Orchards is open from 9am until 6pm daily (closed Tuesdays), and they are located off of I-93, Exit 18 on Orchard Road, just off of Hackleboro Road. For more information or directions, call 783-4248 or visit their website at www.hackleboroorchards.com.

For listings of other pick-your-own orchards, you can contact the University of NH Cooperative Extension at 862-1520, or log onto www.pickyourown.org/NH.htm, www.allaboutapples.com/orchard, or www.nhfruitgrowers.org. 

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