Pick-Your-Own Tasty Adventure
Posted on September 19, 2020Written by Elizabeth Nelson
Fall Brings a Bountiful Harvest to the Berkshires
Visit our pick-your-own farms and orchards for apples, pumpkins, and more—plus outdoor fun the whole family can enjoy!
For help planning your trip, browse the Berkshire Grown Guide to Local Foods and Farms. Along with Pick-Your-Own (PYO) fields, you’ll find farmer’s markets, farm stands, and area restaurants serving local produce.
Among your many choices for picking across Berkshire county are local favorites Bartlett’s Orchard and Hilltop Orchards, both in Richmond, Ioka Valley Farm in Hancock, and Jaeschke’s Orchard (pronounced yes-keys) in Adams. In south county, head to Riiska Brook Orchard in Sandisfield or Windy Hill Farm in Great Barrington for apple picking. Howden’s Farm in Sheffield offers PYO pumpkins and bucolic Berkshire views.
To make the most of your PYO experience, there are a few things to know ahead of time:
Berkshire farmers grow dozens of apple varieties, pumpkins perfect for carving or making pies, and stone fruits such as tart cherries and peaches. The unique growing conditions here are just right for producing exceptionally flavorful fruit. Availability varies depending on the time of the season. Be sure to check current picking conditions before you go.
In general, apple-picking season in the Berkshires begins in late August and runs through October. Popular early-season varieties include Macintosh, Cortlands, Red Delicious, and Macouns. Picking for Ida Reds, Empires, and Jonagolds (among others) is later in the season. Come October, foliage colors are at their peak and pumpkins of all sizes are ripe and ready.
When you head for a Berkshire farm, allow time to visit their store. Most offer already-picked fruits and vegetables along with farm-produced jams, jellies, pickles and pies, fresh-pressed sweet cider, and the best cider donuts you’ve ever tasted. Some farms offer hayrides, walking trails, and corn mazes too.
No matter how you choose to enjoy your visit to a Berkshire farm, you can’t go wrong with a day of fresh air and fun in the great outdoors!
Know before you go: Like anywhere these days, Berkshire farms may require you to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Even if you’ve been to a particular farm in the past, this year may be different. Call ahead to be sure you know what to bring, or not to bring, to help keep yourself and farm staff healthy and safe.
Top Image: Batlett’s Orchard. Photo by Kacey Hatch.
Middle Image: Photo by Lindsey Schmid.