Apples, Apples, Apples!
- Visit North Central
As the morning air turns a slight crisp and the sweet scent of pumpkin spice envelopes the air, you become entranced by the aroma of the hearty fall season. It’s a special time of the year for Mother Nature, as she alters our landscapes to the nestling colors of golden oranges and deep reds. There is no better way to enjoy the start of fall season as a family than getting out and going apple picking. With 12 different farms and over 26 different varieties of apples grown in Massachusetts alone there is a new farm, a new adventure and a new flavor for everyone in the family.
Before you take a daytrip to one of these amazing farms, you should head to the 33rd Annual Applefest at Wachusett Mountain. This great festival on October 15th-16th is Wachusett’s most popular fall festival, AppleFest features over 140 Craft Fair & Farmers’ Market Booths, Family Entertainment, Scenic Foliage Skyrides to the Summit, Mountainside Barbecue, Pony Rides, Clowns, Climbing Wall, Jugglers & Magicians for the Kids. Applefest also features an Oktoberfest Celebration complete with authentic German cuisine, a multitude of tasty beers in the Beer Garden and LIVE music. Featured events for the weekend include the Panfilov Performing Pets performing three times a day, blueberry pie eating contests twice daily, German Cake Eating Contests daily with the Swarze Schaff German Band, and Circus Shows with Troy Wunderle. Special events such as the Great New England Apple Pie Contest, and the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off will be held on Saturday, while Sunday’s lineup kicks off with the Cider House 5k.
Now, Let’s take a tour of some of our orchards!
First up is Bolton Orchards located at 125 Still River Road in Bolton. Bolton Orchards is not the typical Pick Your Own orchard, but they are worth mentioning because of their amazing specialty food store with local apples and cider available year round. They have a full-service deli and produce department as well as a bakery, flowers, gift baskets and old-fashioned ice cream. They are open daily 8am-6pm.For more information, call (978) 779-2733 or visit www.boltonorchards.net.
Our second orchard is Carlson Orchards at 115 Oak Hill Road in Harvard. With over 100 acres of apple orchards for friends and family to enjoy, Carlsonhas Pick Your Own hours daily from 9am-4pm. They also have a farm store on premises that is open year round. For more information, call (978) 456-3916 or visit www.carlsonorchards.com.
Next up is Clearview Farm at 4 Kendall Hill Road in Sterling. Pick your own apples, peaches, pumpkins, blueberries and raspberries. Enjoy hayrides and all kinds of country-made products. The farm is run by the descendants of Mary Sawyer of the world-famous nursery rhyme “Mary’s Little Lamb.” Open daily from 9am-6pm. For more information, call (978) 422-0442 or visit www.clearviewfarmstand.com
Our next farm is not your traditional apple picking orchard. It’s Davis’ Farmland located at 145 Redstone Hill Road in Sterling. Yes. Davis Farmland now has their own orchard of MacIntosh and Cortland apples. So come enjoy the animals while you pick their delicious apples. For more information, call (978) 422-6666 or visit www.davisfarmland.com/dffa_wp.
Hollis Hill Farm is the newest orchard in Appleseed Country. This site of the former Marshall Farm is a 100-acre farm in Fitchburg. Apple Picking season starts in mid August and lasts until late October. Pumpkins are available in the fall along with Hay Rides, Apple Cider, Caramel Apples and Cider Donuts. They also offer a retail store with home-grown beef, bacon, chicken, and fresh eggs along with local honey and Maple Syrup from their very own sugar shack. Picking hours are daily from 9am – 6pm.For more information, call (978) 696-3130 or visit www.hollishillsfarm.com.
Lanni Orchards located at 294 Chase Road in Lunenburg has an interesting story to go along with it. Lanni was established when Pasquale Lanni, his wife Rosa, their four sons and one daughter emigrated from Avellino, Italy, and purchased the land that is now known as Lanni Orchards in 1963. The 180-acre farm has 70 acres of apples, peaches, corn, raspberries, vegetables, berries, pumpkins and flowers. Their retail store sells gourmet gift baskets available year round. Create your own basket for any special occasion. Picking hours are 8 am to 6 pm with last entrance at 5:30 pm. For more information, call (978) 582-6246 or visit www.lanniorchards.com.
Next up is our partner at the Appleseed Country Fair! Yes, it’s Red Apple Farm located at 455 Highland Avenue in Phillipston. The farmstand and country store are filled with delicious apple pies and dumplings, fruit-topped ice cream, farm-fresh produce and a variety of farm-made products. Pick your own apples, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, pears, pumpkins, gourds, potatoes, and Indian corn in season. Come and see the new Country Barn Function Hall, available for all your event needs. Open daily 9am-6pm. For more information, call (800) 628-4851 or visit www.redapplefarm.com.
Last up is Sholan Farms located at 1125 Pleasant Street in Leominster. Sholan is very special since it is the last working apple orchard in Leominster, the birthplace of Johnny Appleseed. sholan is also unique because it is owned by the City of Leominster and operated by the Friends of Sholan Farms; a community supported, non-profit organization managed by a group of dedicated members and volunteers. The organization is managed independently from the City of Leominster and does not receive, or rely on City funding. Their funding comes from their products (apple, raspberry, blueberry, etc.) sales, festivals, tours, sponsors, and private donations.Pick your own apples, raspberries, and blueberries. They are open daily from 10am-5:30pm. For more information, call (978) 840-3276 or visit www.sholanfarms.com.