Folks used to say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and they weren’t wrong: Apples are loaded with fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Picking them straight from the tree, you can practically taste the life in them; plus, you’re adding sunshine, fresh air, and a walk to the recipe, creating a low-key adventure that’ll leave you and yours glowing.
There’s no better way to grasp the Hudson Valley magic—the vast, hard-working collaboration with Mama Nature that is life here at its best and creates wondrous quantities of stellar food, drink and fun—than to grasp a rosy-cheeked apple and pluck it from the branch.
Get out and commune with the nature spirits (and the human nature spirits) as their project and products are at their annual peak, surrounded by autumn colors. Sip a cider or grab a fresh-baked pie and have some coffee while the kids romp. It’s hard to stay stressed in an orchard full of harvest sweetness…maybe even impossible.
Do yourself a flavorful favor and add a few Hudson Valley pick-your-own adventures to this autumn’s itinerary.
Fishkill Farms was founded by notable local Henry Morgenthau Jr. in 1913 and was selling tens of thousands of bushels of apples by the 1950s. Today, the focus is on eco-friendly farming and family fun, and the Treasury Cider Bar hosts frequent live music. Make a U-pick reservation online; they’ve got an “All About Apples” guide that will help you plan.
Hopewell Junction, 845-897-4377, fishkillfarms.com
Kelder’s Farm is the only U-pick farm to feature a gigantic gnome. You can pick your own fruits, veggies, and berries all summer long; apples start mid-August, and harvest festivities are ongoing through September and October. But any day is festive here: They’ve got 30 different farm activities, including hay mountain, candy cannon, fishing pond, jumping pillow, and bunches more. Your kids may never let you leave. At least you’ll eat well.
Kerhonkson, 845-626-7137, keldersfarm.com
Locust Grove Fruit Farm
Locust Grove Fruit Farm began when the Kent family turned from shipbuilding to agriculture seven generations ago. Three generations work there now, growing over 100 types of apples, peaches, berries, sweet and sour cherries, quince, and more. Do some picking this fall and sample some truly original handcrafted local beverage in the Brewery Barn, which was first added when the pandemic left the Kents with too much fruit for a while.
Milton, 845-795-5194, locustgrovefruitfarm.com
Majestic Farm, in the lovely and intriguing Western Catskills town of Mountain Dale, welcomes you to their organic orchard starting in August. Immerse yourself by reserving one of their campsites or AirBnB tiny houses and spend some unplugged time on the farm—which also offers sustainably raised pork, beef, and chicken from heritage breeds—to take home or cook up at your campsite’s open-air kitchen.
Mountain Dale, 845-241-7488, majesticfarm.com
Prospect Hill Orchards
Prospect Hill Orchards comprises three locations for your picking pleasure: the Homestead, 15 acres of apple, pear, and quince trees with pond and picnic spot; the Hilltop Farm, with gorgeous views and easy-to-reach dwarf apple trees; and Clark’s Family Farm, a seventh-generation operation where you’ll find organic apples and pumpkins galore. Plus, there are kids’ activities and old-fashioned cider pressing.
Milton, 845-795-2383, prospecthillorchards.com
Saunderskill Farms offers 10 varieties of apples to pick amid stunning mountain views. Stop in the farmstand or greenhouse to grab your bag, and they’ll point you in the right direction. Apple-picking starts the last weekend of August, and pumpkins in October; don’t miss the corn maze, the brilliant array of mums, or the Hudson Valley Draft Horse Association Fall Corn Harvest happening in September with live music and family fun of all sorts.
Accord, 845-626-2676, saunderskill.com
Stone Ridge Orchard
Stone Ridge Orchard is nestled between the ‘Gunks and the Cats, 115 acres of 200-year-old orchard that is now in the hands of a certified pomologist and agricultural revolutionary who helped start the New York Greenmarket. Come pick apples and Asian pears starting Labor Day weekend; come to the farmstand for all kinds of locally sourced yummies, and stop at the Farm Bar to taste the finest in NY craft beverage, from right here and beyond.
Stone Ridge, 845-687-2587, stoneridgeorchard.com
Twin Star Orchard
Twin Star Orchard, home of Brooklyn Cider House cider, starts their pick-your-own season in the last week of August. You’ll find a warmhearted welcome and stunning views. Bring the family (leashed dogs included) for a weekend afternoon by the pond, with splendid wood-fired pizzas, burgers, and barbecue, refreshing craft cider, and live music by talented local artists.
New Paltz, 845-633-8657, twinstarorchards.com
Wallkill View Farm
Wallkill View Farm is a beloved New Paltz institution. In October, they pour on the pumpkin partying. Complete the three-acre corn maze to win a free pumpkin at the end, take a free hayride to an enormous pumpkin patch and pick your own, try the free hay tunnel or the balloon chase, and play some lawn games. Later in the season, Wallkill View will become a holiday wonderland full of Christmas trees, wreaths, poinsettias, and more.
New Paltz, 845-255-8050. wallkillviewfarmmarket.com