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How Do You Pick the Perfect Apple?
So many apples… so hard to choose a favorite. Shiny red Galas. Pale green Granny Smiths. Yellow Delicious.
Look past the color, to your planned use: Apples for pies. Apples for eating. Apples for sauce. Apples to store away into the winter months. Everyone seems to know an apple they consider the “best.” With so many choices, autumn is a special time in Johnny Appleseed’s back yard. Fruit hangs heavy on the trees, and families head into the orchards to enjoy the bounty of the season. Consider this: The Red Apple Farm in Phillipston offers 42 different varieties of the fruit that earned Johnny Appleseed his nickname! And a single tree in their orchard sports 100 different varieties of apples on its grafted branches.
Cream of the Crop
Sholan Farms, a 169-acre orchard operated by a volunteer organization, has more than three dozen varieties ripening from mid-August till late October. But the Friends of Sholan Farms celebrate the “Cream of the Crop” — their Macouns — in late September. It’s a great weekend to visit and see all that Sholan has to offer. But you don’t have to wait for a special event to visit a “you-pick” spot like Hollis Hills Farm in Fitchburg, Meadowbrook Orchards in Sterling, or Carlson Orchards. Apple season begins in July and runs right through October, so there’s always something great to pick. Many orchards and farmstands also have climate-controlled storage, so you can keep coming back for more, even after the pick-your-own season is past.
The hardest part might be deciding just what to take home! Every orchard or farmstand has its own specialties — and you’ll often find home-baked pie, fresh-pressed cider and other apple delights at these local markets, too. Recognizing the desire for family outings, many growers, like Lanni Orchards in Lunenburg, turn apple season into festival season as well — with music, hayrides, pie-baking contests and more. So fill our basket, tour the field, savor the flavors, and enjoy your adventure in Johnny Appleseed’s backyard.