Last Sunday we spent a lovely fall afternoon at Red Apple Farm, in Philipston, MA. We had a tasty BBQ lunch, chose pumpkins for halloween, picked about 100kg of apples, and generally enjoyed the New England countryside during its best season.
Red Apple Farm is our go to place for the yearly family apple picking outing. They are about 80 minutes drive from our house, so they are generally less crowded than places closer to the city. This year had a number of late frosts, which wiped out the apple crop in some locations, so I've heard several people say they tried to go picking and found their chosen orchard was out of apples. Fortunately this was not the case at RAF.
Red Apple has a pretty good selection of apples. Not much in the way of specialty cider varieties, but they have a decent number of Roxbury and Golden Russets.
Russets are some of my personal favorites as they are great to eat out of hand, keep reasonably, make an excellent pie, and are some of the few types of apple which make a good single variety hard cider. The Russets also look a bit mangy due to their rough brown skin, so they are not as popular with the pick-your-own crowd and as a consequence are often very thick on the trees. I rather like the russetted skin; it kind of grips your skin when you are handling the apples, and it provides and interesting texture in your mouth.
We picked 10 overful bags altogether, each about 10kg of fruit. We got about one bag of Mutsu, one Rhode Island Greening, one Yellow Delicious, a few odd Arkansas Black, and the rest Golden Russet. The back of our xB was pretty much packed solid with apples. Here they are unloaded into the basement to await being made into pie filling and cider and for fresh eating.
I try to eat 4 or 5 apples a day for a couple weeks after our picking expeditions.
RAF also has hay rides, goats you can feed, rabbits, a toddler play area, pony rides, cider donuts, etc., in other words the full fall farm festival.
We found some small trees which appeared to be chestnuts, not sure what kind though.
The girls also had a ton of fun playing on a log pile for quite a long time, and were only extracted by the onset of an afternoon thunderstorm.
So it was a great year for the apple picking trip. Both Buster and Millie were stung by yellowjackets, but even this couldn't put a lasting damper on the trip.