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Apple picking?

Know of a good apple picking place? I am thinking of either Russell Orchards or Tougas Farm. Is there any other places that are better?

Thanks

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  1. Honeypot is fun, but a total crowd scene. That said, I go at least once a year and stand in line for the awesome donuts. Quieter is Westward Orchards in Harvard, MA- they have an associated store with quite nice sandwiches too.

    1. If you are willing to drive Honeypot is great but as DrMag noted it is always a zoo, even worse on the weekends. I too will stand in lines for those donuts!

      We also like Marino's in Natick. Good selection of fruit and the kids love the train. However they keep getting pricier and pricier each year. You get charged an admission fee and then a 10lb bag costs about $18. Its is more an entertainment outing than pure apple picking.

      7 Replies
      1. re: foodieX2

        Honeypot is my go to place too. I try to go during the week when it is much less of a zoo. in addition to their wonderful cider donuts, they also make my favorite apple pie.

        1. re: catsmeow

          As much as people complain about Honeypot being a zoo on seasonal weekends, the quality and the variety of the apples, the unpasteurized cider, and the superlative cider doughnuts (not to mention the ability to buy fallen branches for short money for smoking) all more than make up for the crowds. Plus, gotta admit: I *like* the petting zoo (anyone who doesn't love baby goats is no friend of mine) and the occasional hayride or trip through a corn maze.

          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

            I usually skip the zoo because of the kids (no pun intended) but they have baby goats??

            I love their cider donuts, and it's worth braving the crowds and running children to get them, IMO.

            My favorite apples though are Mutsus, so any worthy PYO orchard has to have Mutsus available.

            1. re: kobuta

              Goats for sure - the centerpiece of the animal area is a large goat pen with a tower for them to climb, and an awesome set of buckets on pulleys that you can put feed into and then crank up to the platforms on the tower.

              1. re: Allstonian

                ok, baby goats. Got me there. Got to go, even though the cider donuts and unpasteurized cider at Cider Hill are great.

          2. re: catsmeow

            I've never had their pie. Now I feel like we have to go back. My 2 children just ate a 1/2 peck of their peaches over a week. Honeypot always seems to have their favorite peaches. We have only seen the Sansa apple there and that's our favorite for our school lunches. I'm a big fan of their donuts.

            1. re: makonna

              Their donuts are the best! They're so light and fluffy. Everywhere else that I've tried apple cider donuts they're very heavy and don't come close. Honeypots donuts and pies also freeze very well. I put the donuts in the toaster oven on 200°-250 degrees for a few minutes and they're wonderful.

        2. We love Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, and drive there from Somerville happily. I can't compare to Russell or Tougas since we haven't been to those.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Madrid

            cider hill was very nice. i hope to go back this year.

            1. re: Madrid

              They are our go to place as well. The prices are very reasonable (similar to Russo's) and they have a great variety. Last year we picked a few peaches that were also quite tasty. And of course no trip is complete without a couple cider donuts.

              1. re: viperlush

                Currently $2/lb ($20/bag) for peaches and apples at Cider Hill. The donuts are as good as I remember.

              2. re: Madrid

                Do they have unpasteurized cider?

                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                  Cider Hill Farm cider is not pasteurized.

              3. Smolak Farm in North Andover! Apples, hayrides, warm cider donuts and more!

                1 Reply
                1. re: ParisLady

                  We went to Smolak Farms last fall, based on recommendations from CH, and were terribly disappointed. The antique varieties orchard wasn't open on the day we went, and all they had available for PYO was Macs and Cortlands. Also, much to my surprise (since I'm used to the farm stands at Honey Pot Hill and Red Apple Farm, which offer full selections of their apples in the stores), they had almost no apples for sale in the shop - just a few bags of Cortlands. The farmstand focus was clearly on the bakery and gift shop.

                2. I was thinking about Carlson's in Harvard, based on a thread I found last week. I'm not looking for a "carnival" like atmosphere, which is how some orchards have been described.

                  1. My favorite is Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton. Not only is it in a lovely location, they have a nice selection of apples. I also like picking up some of their great wines when I'm there. Some of my favorites, like their Raspberry wine, I have a hard time finding other places.

                    http://www.nashobawinery.com/

                    1. I've done Russell Orchards and Cider Hill, both pretty similar also for no frill Dowse in Sherborn is good. Cider hill has good cider and donuts as well as a lot of other produce.

                      1. Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton -- picking and much more

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: DaniK

                          The beer fest they have every year is a lot of fun.

                        2. My husband and I just got back from a quick visit to Russell Orchards. It wasn't too crazy-busy, but definitely hopping. We were lazy and just bought some Macs and some galas as well as peaches from their orchard. They had five varieties of apples ready for picking, I think.

                          For breakfast we had a wonderful apple roll-up from their bakery. It was warm and buttery and the apple filling had some texture but wasn't too crunchy or too sweet. This is a favorite fall treat. The cider donuts looked tempting, but we decided to stop and have some Down River Ice Cream in Essex for dessert/lunch. A decadent, delicious day in a gorgeous area. It certainly helped that the weather was picture-perfect.

                           
                          1. We've been going to Drew farms in Westford for years. Nice and simple. Tractor ride up the hill. Dog friendly. No bells and whistles. They usually sell cider from Carlsons Orchards.

                            Also try to stop at Vic's Waffle House in Tewksbury, as we're not normally in that area.