Apple picking in Connecticut is a must-do fall activity. However, this is only the first year I have ever gone! In case you’re a first timer too, here are tips for apple picking in New England.
There is something to be said about a New Englander who has never been apple picking. It is a quintessential fall activity in Connecticut. But for some reason, my family always buys the bagged orchard apples. This year I made it my goal to not only go apple picking for the first time in 33 years, but also bring along my daughters.
Apple picking is a fun way to spend time with your family and the perfect excuse to learn how to make an apple pie. However, it can be stressful taking children to an orchard if you don’t know what to expect. Use these apple picking tips to plan your first trip to the orchard.
1. Research the Best Apple Picking Orchard
Whether you’re looking to visit an orchard with extra activities (corn maze, hayride, etc.) or fresh produce for purchase, each orchard offers something different. My family chose Drazen Orchard in Cheshire, CT because of its proximity to our home on a rainy a day. However there are three other orchards within a 15 mile radius that are just as amazing. Research the best apple picking orchard for your needs before you go!
Here are a few of the best apple orchards in New England (NewEngland.com)
2. Choose the best time to go.
The best time to go apple picking is not when it gets cold, but rather when your desired apples are ready to pick. Apple orchards are most busy on the weekend during the middle of the afternoon, so go early or late in the day.
3. Dress appropriately.
My husband laughed at my apple picking outfit, but I dressed specifically for the occasion. Check the weather ahead of time and plan your clothing choices appropriately. Wear boots or sneakers since the grass might be wet from dew or smashed apples.
4. Know the orchard’s apple picking rules.
Some orchards have strict rules for apple picking, so it’s important you inform children (especially) before you go. Our orchard allowed one apple for tasting before purchasing what you pick, but some orchards might not allow any samples. Remember not to climb or shake trees and leave your pets at home.
A note about Photography: some orchards prohibit photography while apple picking or require permission in advance from the orchard. If you’re going to bring a camera to take pictures of your apple picking adventure, make sure you know the orchard’s rules beforehand.
Read more Apple Picking No-No’s here (Clickhole)
5. Twist the apple up, don’t pull.
There is a correct way to pick fruit off of a tree and that’s to twist, not pull. Pulling an apple from a tree can knock off other apples or damage the tree itself.
6. Know which apples to pick.
The apples on the outside of the tree ripen first, so choose the most firm apples without brown spots. Sniff the apple to make sure it smells good (bad smells = rot). Don’t take home any apples wth holes or abnormally small apples from the center of the tree (they’re not ripe yet!).
Want to make applesauce? Grab yourself a few apples with the brown spots – they actually make the best smoothies too!
7. Plan what you’ll do with all of your picked apples.
When you’re apple picking it’s easy to quickly fill a basket. It’s important to plan what you’ll do with your picked apples so you don’t take home too little/too many. We picked around 25 apples for apple pie (8-10 apples needed), apple crisp (5-6 apples needed), and everyday snacking.
Looking for more fun fall activities? Check out this post!
These are great tips! I definitely agree timing is everything when it comes to picking the apples!
Hillary Conheady says
Ah I love this post! What a cute idea! I so badly want to go apple picking this fall! Need to find a place somewhere near Charleston!
I LOVE apple picking season in Connecticut! I also want to recommend Blue Jay Orchards in my hometown of Bethel — they do hayrides (including a haunted hay ride closer to Halloween) and have all sorts of fun events for kiddos. You and your family look perfect. I love your cute outfits! I use the apples for apple pies mostly, though my husband and I also have a few hearty skillet breakfast we make after a big weekend exercise that include apples for sweetness.
Anna English says
What a fun activity to get excited for fall! It looks like y’all had the best time.
Tanvi Rastogi says
Such a fun family activity. I love me a good apple pie in this season.
This sounds like so much fun. I have always wanted to do it, I will have to try and find a place near me!
Auntie M says
We picked apples Sunday afternoon in Southern IN. Boots are a great idea to avoid ticks. Mine were not stylish, I wore bright rain boots. If you live in tick areas as we do, I recommend long sleeves and bands for ticks, mosquitoes, etc or a spray. Be certain to allow time for a tick, bug check at home.
We made jars of delicious chucky applesauce to freeze and enjoy with chili, etc this Fall and winter. Our apples have not been sprayed, so they did not look perfect but they are 100% pesticide free! You just work around spots after coring. I find t easier to peel once apples are cored.
While I’ve visited orchards in recent days, I haven’t done any PYO in a while. I’m sure it’s much more fun when you’ve got your children experiencing it!
Chic on the Cheap
Laura Leigh says
So cute! I want to come!
xo Laura Leigh
Ashley Hargrove says
I have ALWAYS wanted to do this!!! Looks like y’all had the best time!!
Lisa Drazen says
Caitlin- Thanks for visiting Drazen Orchards, Cheshire, CT and blogging about the apple picking experience. Your tips are right on!?! Please come and visit again.
What a fun family activity! I definitely need to do this with my husband some time this fall.
Jamaria Johnson says
Omg I’ve always wanted to experience apple picking! You guys look great and this is something I definitely want to do this fall season! xo
Laura S says
These are such great tips! I cannot wait to go apple picking! Love the tip about knowing what you’re going to do with the apples! We always pick so many and then end up having to throw away a bunch because we didn’t plan we just picked ?