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Apple orchards suggestions welcomed - missing Phil's Apples

We are sadly missing Phil's Apples out in Harvard, its wonderful cider pressing 'til December, and especially its proprietor, Phil Rymsha.

Apparently someone bought it and is trying to continue the operation although it isn't open this year.

Any fans out there that can recommend an alternative in that area? Looking for a place that is more about the apples than agri-tainment, though I know that is important to sustain a farm these days.


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  1. Although I grew up enjoying the Stow Bolton farms, it's been many years. Just thought I would top this as I love the term


    never heard it, very funny and accurate!!!

    1. I never made it to Phil's, but would heartily recommend Nicewicz Family Farms in Bolton -- they are a friendly and very apple-focused operation. They primarily have PYO and a very small stand.

      They don't do cider, unfortunately; I think finding a cider operation that isn't a big show is harder. I have occasionally gone to Nicewicz to pick apples then made a very quick stop at Honey Pot Hill in Stow for cider; it's crowded and a bit crazy, but they do have good unpasteurized cider (and donuts).

      1. Phil's is open this year, both for you pick and for cider. The new owners are working away.

        1 Reply
        1. re: justbeingpolite

          Been there twice, it sure is open. Check out their Facebook page to see for yourself. That is the only way to communicate with them now too.

        2. Are you sure it's not open? At least two people on this board have said that they bought cider there within the past week: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9182...

          1. Agree that Phil and his orchard are a treasure. The website does explain that it is under new ownership and open until November. Same deal as with Phil- Pick Your Own under the honor system during the week; Cider pressing on the week-ends.

            But has anyone been there to check it out?

            2 Replies
            1. re: gracenote

              My daughter was there for a party yesterday. Picked some nice Macs and brought home fine unpasteurized cider.

              1. re: gracenote

                We went Saturday and chatted with one of the (very nice) new owners and his daughter who was helping him out. He said they hope to keep pressing through Thanksgiving. Said they were up early pressing to get a head start and had plenty of cider ready to go, which was great considering we bought more than five gallons. Delicious as always. Make the trip, it's worth it.

              2. More about Phil's

                If you read down this older thread, there is current information about Phil's. Evidently Phil passed away, and the orchard is under new ownership, but is still low key.


                1. Went by "Phils" on the way to a soccer game Saturday afternoon and it was MOBBED. Still going by Phil's and new ownership must be half decent - it was still mobbed two hours later. People walking out with crates and bags of apples.

                  1. We hit Phil's two weeks ago and nothing has changed except for the sad passing of Phil.

                    The new owner and his kids that we met were very friendly and are working hard to keep everything running smoothly.

                    1. I never went to Phil's, so I'm not sure if this compares... We went to Carlson Orchards in Harvard, MA http://www.carlsonorchards.com/ on Saturday, and it was definitely more low-key and apple/fruit/goods oriented. We were there at around 11 or 12, and they didn't seem to have too much going on. It's possible that more is scheduled in the afternoon.

                      There were mostly adults that we saw. You pick up your U-pick bag and go fill it. You leave through the shop and can purchase any of the baked goods and preserves they offer. They also have tons of pre-picked apples in several varieties.

                      There were no clowns, bands, etc. There was sort of a hayride looking thing, but it was just hauling one little family somewhere...not exactly a crowd of folks.

                      For us, it was a very peaceful, enjoyable outing. We picked our apples and then bought a bowl of freshly made hot apple crisp to eat at one of the nearby picnic tables. It was a wonderful time, and we didn't feel rushed or crowded at all -- exactly what we'd hoped for.

                      Hope you enjoy wherever you go..

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: smatterchu

                        This is exactly why Carlson's is my "go-to" for apple picking. The hayride is free and takes you out to a farther section of the orchards. When you're done, you can wait a few minutes for the tractor to return or walk back. And they usually have complimentary cider you can pour into little dixie cups and drink while you're picking - a nice touch.

                      2. Greetings All - Anyone have an update on Phil's Apples for the fall of 2014?
                        The operation was up and running last fall with a new crew at the helm, and the cider was as good as ever.

                        Noticed that the www.philsapples.com website seems shut down, and the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Phils-... indicates that the house is for sale.

                        Hoping that a local treasure will be enjoyed for years to come!


                        PS: Tried other unpasteurized cider spots nearby in the past, but in my opinion, none seemed to hold a candle to Phil's.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: deweyweber54

                          Yah not good at all. Craving that juice!

                          1. re: deweyweber54

                            Phil's Apples in Harvard, MA Closed

                            "I am sad to say, it looks like Phil's Apples is officially closed and the land is being subdivided. Based on a drive by of the house and inspection of the section of orchard we still own, many trees have been either pulled out or have not been maintained. Thank you for your support and patronage over the last 32 years. -The Rymsha Family"

                          2. Our favorite is Autumn Hill Orchard in Groton. IPM apples and ALOT of varieties. You pay by the pound, not the bag. No agri-tainment at all. Just a barn, a gorgeous orchard and excellent low-pesticide apples.