By Kim Ostellino
The changing colors of leaves may be a sure sign that summer is drawing to a close, but nothing truly says autumn in New England like a day of apple picking. Picking apples is a fun, leisurely activity that people of all ages can enjoy. Luckily for us here in the Berkshires, apple trees are abundant so it’s not difficult to find a ‘pick your own’ farm nearby.
One of the most popular places to pick your own apples is at Bartlett’s Orchard in Richmond. This well-established farm has been helping folks make memories for nearly 60 years. Getting to the apple trees at Bartlett’s is a breeze, making it easier for little ones or those who can have a hard time getting around. There are several varieties of apples to choose from, so you can pick your favorites. When you’re done gathering apples you can head down to their farm store and pick up a dozen (or three!) of their famed cider donuts. The store also sells gifts and other local products. If you’re not too keen on ‘picking your own,’ they also sell all their varieties in ready to buy bags.
Also in Richmond, you can find Hilltop Orchards. This farm has been growing apple trees for more than one hundred years and includes several heirloom varieties in their selection. The orchards use a natural form of pest management, ensuring that the apples remain as close to their native state as possible. You can also take a hike on their extensive acreage or visit their winery, Furnace Brook Winery and enjoy some delectable wines while taking in the magnificent scenery. After picking, you’ll definitely want to pick up some of Hilltop’s mouthwatering apple cider, along with some of their award-winning hard cider.
If your bags are all full but you still have apples on your mind, you can find delightful apple-based products and events all through the county. On September 24th and 25th, Lenox will be holding the 37th annual Apple Squeeze, a celebration of all things apple. If it’s some delicious American apple pie you want, you can pick some up at the street fair or head over to Taft Farms in Great Barrington. This popular store is infamous for their tasty pies and is usually bustling, especially during the autumn months.
So, head outdoors this fall, find an orchard, breathe the fresh air, take in the beautiful views, and make some new memories at the apple orchard!
Kim is a freelance writer, devoted to bringing the best of the Berkshires to locals and visitors alike through her website, Berkshire Girl Online. She is an avid hiker and kayaker, who also loves to explore the cultural and historical sites of the Berkshires.