Autumn is for Apple Picking: Best U-Pick Apple Orchards in the Hudson Valley | Farms & CSA | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Autumn is for Apple Picking: Best U-Pick Apple Orchards in the Hudson Valley 

Last Updated: 10/21/2020 4:43 pm
click to enlarge LAWRENCE FARMS IN NEWBURGH
  • Lawrence Farms in Newburgh
Pies, strudels, crumble, crisp, hard cider, apple cider, mulled cider, cider doughnuts. Pumpkin (spice) may have a better PR agent right now, but apple is the true star of autumn 'round these parts.

Al fresco farm visits are a great way to get outdoors with the fam or the bae this fall. We polled our readers a few weeks ago to ask their recommendations for the best U-pick apple farms in the Hudson Valley. Here's what the polls said, plus a few staff picks in the mix.

DuBois Farms | Highland

DuBois was a crowd favorite among readers, with one fan writing, "They have the best family farm. Tiny Town for the kids to play, a petting zoo, the Tavern for excellent food, and the barn with homemade jams, salsa, jewelry, etc." 'Tis true, DuBois seems to have it all from pastries to fresh pressed local cider to locally made preserves, condiments, and body care products. In October, U-pick is open for apples, grapes, and pumpkins with no reservations required. Open daily, 10am-5pm on weekdays and 9am-6pm on weekends.

Twin Star Orchard | New Paltz

The 200-acre Twin Star Orchard in New Paltz is the home based and tasting room for Brooklyn Cider House, which makes Basque-style ciders with minimal intervention, using no added flavorings or additional sugars. Mant of the ciders are raw and wild-fermented. The orchard has 50 acres growing over 8,000 hard cider varieties and another 50 acres of ancient orchards now open for U-picking. Even as the season wraps up with Golden Delicious, there you can still head to the farm for wood-fired pizza and burgers, house ciders, and local beer and wine enjoyed al fresco, pondside. Open Friday through Sunday, 11am-7pm. Leashed dogs are welcome.

Clarke's Family Farm | Modena

One reader wrote about Clarke's, "Organic and low-spray apples, HUGE variety, amazing cider doughnuts, and the nicest people. And it’s not crowded." In the time of corona, we LOVE not crowded. Organic apple varieties include Red Delicious, Fuji, Gold Rush, Cameo and Braeburn, plus a whole bunch more conventional (IPM) apples. You can also harvest your own pumpkin straight off the vine and browse the preserves made with farm-fresh fruit. On your way back from the corn maze, taste their sunshine-distilled apple spirits and nom homemade donut. But hurry up and get their fast because they're only open weekends through October 17/18.

Masker Orchards | Warwick

If you're looking for an extra-safe apple-picking experience, at Masker Orchards in Warwick, you can stay in your car and drive right up to any one of their 10,000 trees to minimize contact with other guests. In a non-COVID year, Masker would have a Family Fun Area with pony rides, a corn maze, music, a haunted house, and a food stand, but alas in 2020, it's all shut down. But you are invited to BYO picnic. Their farm store is closed as well, but you can pre-order provisions, pies, pastries, and Masker merch online for curbside pick-up when you visit. Hurry there, though, because October 17/18 is the last open weekend of the year.

Majestic Farm | Mountain Dale

This Sullivan County farm does a little bit of everything—pastured pork, poultry, and beef, and organic U-pick apples in the fall. Majestic Farm is open to the publics on weekends from 10-4pm for apple picking. Pickers must purchase at least one bag per three people ($12 for a three- to four-pound bag). Leashed dogs are allowed. BYO picnic and stop at the farm store on the way out to pick up some heritage pork, free-roaming chicken, grass-fed beef, eggs, and housemade products like bacon and sausage. 

Lawrence Farm Orchards | Newburgh

This Newburgh farm has a range of apple varieties from Ozark Gold and Cortland to Gala, Cameo, Braeburn, and Fuji, all available for picking. Lawrence Farm also offers pumpkins, winter squash, mums, cider doughnuts, and hot cider to warm you up after you pick, and wagon rides. Open daily 9am-4pm.

Rose Hill Farm | Red Hook

One of the state’s oldest fruit farms, Rose Hill changed hands in November 2015. Under new owners, farm manager Kevin Clark has shifted the entire operation toward holistic orchard management practices, which means no herbicides and little to no spraying—especially in the lead up to harvest. It seems the changes are bearing fruit, so to say. One reader said Rose Hill said Rose Hill has "best-tasting Honeycrisp apples." The 144-acre farm has epic views of the Catskills, a taproom where you can try the farm's unfiltered hard ciders and natural wines, and a farm stand with honey from the hives, mulled hot cider, warm apple crips, and cider doughnuts. U-pick is open Friday-Sunday, 9am-5pm and the taproom is open Thursdays 2-8pm, and Friday-Sunday 11am-8pm.

Soons Orchards | New Hampton

With more than 55 varieties of apple on 30 acres, Soons Orchards in Orange County is a haven for pomme connoisseurs. Soons is requiring reservations for pre-timed entry for U-pick and wagon rides out to the pumpkin patch, open Friday through Sunday. The market is open daily and selling local produce and provisions as is the next door tasting room, Orchard Hill Cider Mill, which serves farm-fresh hard cider plus New York State spirits, wine, and beer. An enthusiastic reader commented, "OMG—the best apple cider!"

Love Apple Farm | Ghent

Love Apple Farm has contributed to Columbia County’s rich agricultural community for over 50 years. After a fire destroyed the farm’s market building in 2012, then-owners Chris and Randae Loken decided to sell the orchard to longtime friend and Art Omi trustee Francis Greenburger. Since reopening in August 2016, the 80-acre farm and U-pick apple orchard has been expanding its offerings. The new-and-improved, 9,000-square-foot building houses the homemade bakery, fresh food market, and an art exhibition space. Pick a half-peck for $15 or a half bushel for $35. U-pick is open daily 8:30am-4pm. 

Boehm Farm | Climax

If you're looking for a climactic U-pick experience, head to Boehm Farm in Greene County (sorry). This 100-year-old family-run orchard has a wide array of apples including Ida Reds, Mutsu, Jona Golds, Snow Sweet, Autumn Crisp, Crimson Crisp, Golden and Red Delicious available for U-pick at $1 a pound. (There's pumpkins too!) Their farm store also carries seasonal decor like corn stalks, gourds, and hay bales, while the bakery turns out fresh-baked cider donuts, cookies, and apple turnovers, plus pies on the weekends. Open daily 10am-5pm.

Samascott Orchards | Kinderhook

If you love apples, and you're also a bargain hunter, you'll love PYO at Samascott Orchards, where you get 20% off produce you glean yourself. The entry fee is $5 per person, with kids under 9 getting in free, and you get a complimentary picking box or half-bushel bag for harvesting. The Samascott Market is also a destination unto itself with a full garden center, with annuals, perennials, and gardening supplies; a bakery and cafe with baked goods, prepared foods, ice cream, and produce. Through the end of October you can also wander through the corn maze on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11am to 4pm. Open Wednesday through Monday, 9am-5pm.
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