October 05, 2022

Spend an Autumn Day at One of the 10 Best Apple Orchards in the US

The United States' first apple orchard was planted in 1625 near Boston's Beacon Hill. Today, there are over 5,000 growers producing apples across the country (according to the U.S. Apple Association). That's 240 million bushels of apples each year! To help with the harvest, many orchards open their gates for visitors to come and pick their own, often with added autumn entertainment. To find the top spots for apples across the nation, a panel of experts made 20 nominations and 10Best readers voted for the 10 best apple orchards. Scroll to learn more about the winners.

No. 10: Tougas Family Farm - Northborough, Massachusetts.
This second-generation fruit farm in Massachusetts invites visitors to come pick their own apples, berries, peaches, nectarines and pumpkins. The farm grows 30 varieties of apples, available from mid-August to the end of October. Families can join kid-friendly activities in the Barnyard or Playground, while the Farm Kitchen sells baked goods.

No. 9: Jaswell’s Farm - Smithfield, Rhode Island.
About 30 miles outside Providence, located in the heart of “Apple Valley” in Smithfield, Rhode Island, the Jaswell family thanks guests for choosing their “family-friendly and farm-fresh” orchard for the pick-your-own-apples fall tradition. Each member of the party can select one extra apple to enjoy on their ride home! Reservations for apple picking in the orchard are recommended, and guests receive instructions and a bag for apple picking.

No. 8: Johnson's Corner Farm - Medford, New Jersey.
Harvest Festival weekends are the highlight of the season at Johnson's Corner Farm. Dance to live music, hang out at the Festival Food Tent and relish the fun with family and friends. Visitors enjoy a hayride to the orchards, where they can choose among 10 varieties of apples, each with a unique flavor.

No. 7: Sky Top Orchard - Flat Rock, North Carolina.
Less than an hour south of Asheville, North Carolina, Sky Top Orchard offers its guests the chance to celebrate fall on the mountain with a roadside stand feel and nostalgia of yesterday. The cool summer nights and warm days create perfect conditions for growing over 22 varieties of apples, with the U-Pick season lasting from August through the end of October. Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Red and Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Pink Lady are just a few available varieties.

No. 6: Libby & Son U-Picks - Limerick, Maine.
Apple picking season at Libby & Son U-Picks in Maine extends from mid-August through the end of October. Guests enjoy live music that can be heard throughout the orchard.

No. 5: Spicer Orchards - Fenton, Michigan.
At Spicer Orchards, wagons take visitors into the orchards to pick apples and berries. The fall season also means hot apple cider and cider donuts, wine tastings and a children’s playground. A Harvest Festival in mid-September features a craft fair and antique tractors.

No. 4: Deal's Orchard - Jefferson, Iowa.
This family-run apple orchard in Iowa comprises 45 acres of apple trees with more than 25 varieties on offer. The farm also has a seasonal corn maze and other family activities, as well as an orchard store selling cider, homemade apple pie, local honey and other artisan food goods.

No. 3: Beak and Skiff Apple Orchards - LaFayette, New York.
This family-owned orchard has been growing apples since onion farmer George Skiff and dairy farmer Andrew Beak joined forces in 1911 to plant apples on a hillside along Route 20. The rest, as they say, is history. Gala, McIntosh, Ginger Gold and Paula Red are just a few of the varieties offered from late August through late October. Live music events, Cider Fests, Orchard Runs and a Kids' Magic Show add entertainment to the apple picking.

No. 2: Mercier Orchards - Blue Ridge, Georgia.
Started in 1943 by Bill and Adele Mercier, Mercier Orchards has been a family farm ever since. Showcasing 52 varieties of apples, the U-Pick Apple Event is the most popular event of the season, which runs from early August to late October. A bakery/deli, farm market and winery offer more to do and taste, while other events like cooking and baking classes, tours and tractor pulls are staged at various times throughout the year.

No. 1: Milburn Orchards - Elkton, Maryland.
Millburn Orchards, a family-run farm, is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year and is proudly run by the fourth and fifth generations of owners. A wagon ride into the orchard starts an apple picking day where you can choose from different apples grown at Millburn Orchards. Group apple picking events are offered on the weekends in the fall and are perfect for a large outing with colleagues or friends.

Copyright 2022 Gannett. All rights reserved. From https://www.usatoday.com.

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