An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Sep 29, 2013
06:07 AM
The Connecticut Table

Autumn Agenda: Apple Picking in the Connecticut Countryside

Autumn Agenda: Apple Picking in the Connecticut Countryside

Macouns ready for picking.

Orchards across the state are enjoying one of the best apple crops in recent years, and customers are picking the benefits. Pick-your-own apples is a popular fall activity for all ages, and this year’s good weather has made for healthier, more abundant fruit.

Connecticut orchards feature many different kinds of apples, but certain varieties stand out as fan-favorites. The sweet crispiness of a Macoun makes it the perfect eating apple, and one of the most popular kinds. Other favorites this season include McIntosh and Gala, both good for eating or baking.

Honeycrisp is rapidly gaining popularity thanks to its very sweet flavor, crispiness, and juiciness, best eaten straight from the tree. The tartness of Empire and Cortland apples make them perfect in a pie.

On its Facebook page, Lyman Orchards quantifies the appeal of Empires, saying, "With Red Delicious & McIntosh as parents, it's no surprise that Empire apples are so crisp and flavorful. They're now ready for picking! Empire apples are among the most popular eating varieties we grow, and their special sweet/tart flavor is excellent for applesauce and pies--the perfect all-purpose apple!."

Averill Farm, high atop Baldwin Hill in Washington, has this to say online about what's in season:

For pick-your-own, we have  Bosc Pears and many apple varieties; Empire, McIntosh, Cortland, Macoun, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Spartan, Liberty, Jonagold, and Rhode Island Greening, an antique pie apple.  For sale in the stand we have these, Bartlett, Seckel and Asian pears,  and a few organic (uncertified) apple varieties.   In addition, for a very short time, we have some Honeycrisp apples, at a premium price as the supply is  limited.

We have our own, unpasteurized Apple Cider-come and get it!

And our baker and kitchen maven Andrea has been busy creating soup-of-the-week and scrumptious treats! 

The best way to find your favorite is to get out there and pick away. Call ahead to check on the changing prices and availability of varieties. Here are a few PYO farms to check out in different parts of the state, and a full list of PYO orchards is available online.

Averill Farm (860/868-2777, averillfarm.com) in Washington.  About 20 varieties.

Buell’s Orchard (860/974-1150, buellsorchard.com) in Eastford. About 15 varieties.

Drazen Orchards (203/272-7985, drazenorchards.com) in Cheshire. About 15 varieties. Special price for PYO Galas thanks to bountiful crop.

Lyman Orchards (860/349-1793, lymanorchards.com) in Middlefield. 12 varieties.

If you head out Sunday for apple picking, why not pair the experience with one of our recommended fall foliage drives, and also connect with the great options on our Best of Connecticut 2013, now available as an iPad app.

 

Autumn Agenda: Apple Picking in the Connecticut Countryside

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