Apples, Apples Everywhere!

  • David Ginisi

Johnny Appleseed got the ball rolling here a couple of centuries ago — and it just hasn’t stopped. You’ll find apples growing in every corner of North Central Massachusetts, from the top of a hill overlooking the city of Leominster to a quiet corner in the town of Templeton.

There are large orchards and small orchards. Orchards where you can pick your own apples, and orchards where the growers have done the work for you, offering baskets, bins and bags filled with luscious fruit that you can grab on the go.

Your happy dilemma is deciding what kind of apples you want to buy today. Are you looking for something to pack in the kids’ lunch bags? Or is a batch of fresh applesauce on your dinner menu? Maybe you’re in the mood to bake a pie or two for a church bake sale.

Little girl picking apples from tree in a fruit orchard

Child picking apples on a farm in autumn. Little girl playing in apple tree orchard. Kids pick fruit in a basket. Toddler eating fruits at fall harvest. Outdoor fun for children. Healthy nutrition.

Happily, Johnny Appleseed’s backyard has any kind of apple your heart desires. Think the choice is easy? Would you believe there are dozens of varieties available here? Consider this: Pease Orchard in Templeton, run by a third generation of the family, grows 27 varieties. Sholan Farms, operated by dedicated volunteers, grows three dozen varieties, ripening from late August through late October. And Red Apple Farm grows more than 50 different varieties on its Phillipston hilltop!

Whether you’re visiting in late summer or well into fall, you’ll find fruits to fill your needs turning ripe and ready to pick.

A “pick your own” family outing is an experience the kids will never forget, as they run through the orchard, looking for that perfect green Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or bright red McIntosh globe. At many local farms, you can take a hayride through the orchard, enjoy a barbecue lunch, or buy a bag of just-baked cider donuts to take home.

Feeling thirsty? How about a bottle of apple soda for the kids, or a jug of fresh apple cider? Looking for a special treat for the grown-ups in the group? Maybe a cool glass of hard cider will hit the spot!

Grab a map, pick a town — any town — in the region, and see why we call this “Johnny Appleseed Country.” §

Story by: Pat Gale