An Apple A Day…
- Visit North Central
Think autumn. Think New England. Think… apples!
Shiny red Macs, fairly sparkling in the sun. Pale green Granny Smiths, hiding amid the leaves. Golden Delicious, Galas —and a favorite at Leominster’s own Sholan Farms, Macouns.
Everywhere you go in North Central Massachusetts, you’re likely to see reminders of Johnny Appleseed’s legacy: rolling orchards with neat rows of trees, their limbs burdened with fruit waiting to be picked. Farmstand tables piled high with recently-harvested Cortlands, Baldwins and Romes.
It’s a great time to visit, to pack up the family for a day of apple-picking, picnicking, and maybe a little partying as local orchards celebrate the season. Walk through a local orchard and you’ll see toddlers sitting on a parent’s shoulders, straining to reach that perfect apple, and families loading brimming baskets into their cars for the ride home, ready for a day of pie-baking or jelly-making in the kitchen.
If your apple experience has been limited to what you find on your local grocer’s shelves, well, you’re in for a big surprise. There are dozens of varieties out there in the orchards; maybe, just maybe, it’s time for you to try something new!
And while it’s fun for the family to wander through an orchard, looking for that perfect orb to pick, you can always just swing by a stand to pick up a bag or basket of fresh-picked fruit, leaving you free to turn your attention to the baking and eating part of the story.
Don’t forget to think outside the box: These orchards also offer a host of apple products, from cider to donuts, pies and even gooey, yummy, feel-like-a-kid-again caramel-dipped apples!
s with the beautiful foliage of fall in New England, apple season can be fleeting once the first nip of frost in the air. Although apple harvest season actually starts in August, with the first Ginger Gold, Gravensteins and Paula Red, most visitors really begin thinking about apple-picking outings in September and October, taking home carloads of McIntosh, Gala, Jonathan, Macoun, Northern Spy, Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples.
Think that’s a good variety? It’s just a start! There are more than 200 varieties of New England apples — and you’ll find many of them here in North Central Massachusetts.
Can’t decide where to begin? Here are a few options for you:
Carlson Orchards, Inc.
115 Oak Hill Road
Harvard, MA 01451
145 Redstone Hill Road
Sterling, MA 01564
Sholan Farms, Inc.
1125 Pleasant Street
Leominster, MA 01453978.840.3276
Hollis Hills Farm
340 Marshall Rd
Fitchburg, MA 01420
209 Chace Hill Rd.
Sterling, MA 01564
Red Apple Farm
455 Highland Avenue
Phillipston, MA 01331
No time to pick your own? Those orchards, along with farm stores like Bolton Orchards, 125 Still River Road in Bolton, (978-779-2733, www.boltonorchards.co) also offer enormous varieties of fruits and veggies that are pre-picked for you and ready to take home to enjoy!
We can’t guarantee, of course, that a daily apple will keep the doctor from your doorstep — but some healthy, locally-grown, tasty fruit will certainly make you smile on a crisp autumn day!
Story by: Pat Gale