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!
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.
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.
If you’ve already been apple picking, share your advice in the comments!
Caitlin Houston is a Connecticut based life and style blogger.