It’s Apple Picking Time in the Lakes Region!
By Kathi Caldwell-Hopper
“Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits.”
Henry David Thoreau
This is the time of year that apple orchard owners throw open their doors and invite an eager public to pick apples. For many, it marks the changing of the seasons from summer to fall. Farmers have been tending their apple orchards for months, through a variety of weather conditions.
Apples are now ready for picking and families can enjoy an afternoon spent at an orchard with apple picking, wagon rides to the orchards, live music, cider donuts, baked goods and more!
Cardigan Mountain Orchard in Alexandria (in the Newfound Lake area) is a wonderful orchard in a country setting; the original orchard trees were planted in the 1930s, producing a variety of apples. More trees have been planted over the years and it is a very scenic, must-visit-every-autumn Newfound Lake location. The orchard is open for pick-your-own apples with about 15 varieties. Choose from Macs, Gravenstein, Honey Crisp, Red and Golden Delicious, Empires and more. The orchard is in a beautiful setting with views and an old-fashioned atmosphere. Cider donuts are available during apple-picking season. The orchard is located at 1540 Mt. Cardigan Rd. in Alexandria; call 603-744-2248.
The orchard owners also operate the Cardigan Country Store and the Orchard Bistro at 231 Lake Street in Bristol. The store takes one back to the days of old when country stores were the meeting place in every town. The store features apples, produce from local farms, creative work from artisans and craftspeople, as well as baked goods, preserves and more. The Orchard Bistro serves breakfast and lunch and on Friday and Saturday nights, dinner also is served. The store and Bistro are open year round and the orchard will be open until approximately Halloween (call for updates).
Butternut Farm in Farmington has many varieties available of pick-your-own apples, including Macs, Cortlands, Honey Crisp, Gala, Fuju and more. They’re open every day except Mondays, from 9 am to 5 pm during the picking season. For the latest apple updates, call 603-335-4705. To reach the farm stand, call 603-231-6066. Purchase apples or other treats at the stand, such as tasty homemade pies, donuts, apple cider, and other items. The orchard has a cider house with cider samples; you also can bring your own growler to fill with cider. Butternut Farm is located at 195 Meaderboro Road in Farmington and online at www.butternutfarm.net.
Surowiec Farm at 53 Perley Hill Road in Sanbornton has been in the Surowiec family for many years. There are a number of varieties of apples available, including Macintosh, and Cortlands, Honey Crisp, Macouns and more. Cider and delicious homemade cider donuts also are available. The farm is open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm and can be reached at 603-286-4069 or at www.surowiecfarm.com.
Stone Brook Hill Farm in Gilford has apple trees on over 12 acres. It is a great farm, with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and beautiful views. Visitors can choose from several different varieties of apples including Macintosh, Cortland, Ginger Gold, and more. Enjoy an old-fashioned hay wagon ride into the orchard to pick your apples (on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 2 pm), and then return to the farm stand and choose from a beautiful selection of mums and pumpkins for your fall decorating, among other items. Before you leave, don’t forget to buy some delicious cider. The farm is located at 128 Glidden Road, off Route 11A, and is open Wednesday through Sunday. For details, call 603-293-4300 or visit www.stonebrookhillfarm.com.
DeVylder Farm at 563 Pleasant Valley Road in Wolfeboro began planting apple trees over 38 years ago, and they offer popular varieties for pick-your-own, including Macintosh, Macoun, and Empires. The farm offers fun hayrides on Saturdays during apple picking season. Come back later in the fall as well, because the farmstand will be open until the day before Thanksgiving with baked goods, veggies and more. (Their pies are delicious!) The farm is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm. Call 603-569-4110 for further information.
Smith Orchard at 184 Leavitt Road in Belmont has apples from trees that were planted in the late 1920s; these trees produce great fruit! If Macintosh, Cortland, and Red Delicious apples are your favorites, you won’t be disappointed. The farm also has over 2,000 semi-dwarf trees that produce large, colorful, and tasty apples. Open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm, you can visit Smith Orchard at www.smithorchard.com or call 603-524-1674 for more information.
It is apple-picking time at Hackleboro Orchards at 61 Orchard Road in Canterbury. This great orchard has been around for over 25 years, growing high-quality fruits and vegetables. Available for pick your own are Macintosh, Cortland and more. Tractors pulling hay wagons take visitors to the orchard on weekends for fun apple picking. The farm stand offers baked goods, maple syrup, and many other items as well. Call for hours of operation and details at 603-783-4248.
Meadow Ledge Farm at 612 Rt. 129 in Loudon has something for everyone, from apples (in store and pick-your-own), to pumpkins, produce, crafts, baked goods, gift shop items, mums, and of course, their famous made-while-you-watch cider donuts. While you wait for the wagon to take you to the orchard, enjoy the music of live bands; the schedule of music favors bluegrass, country and folk, and snack on your cider donuts while sitting at a picnic table. The family farm has been operating since 1974 and every year has a great variety of apples. Call 603-798-5860.
If you are out for a drive to look at the foliage, plan your trip around a visit to Romac Orchards at 1149 H Road in Acton, Maine. The orchard offers a lot for families, from apple picking in the orchard special events. Call 207-608-5443 or visit www.romacorchards.org.