It's a good year for apples. That's the word from local growers who have opened fields extra early this year for U-pick visitors.
"We're expecting one of the nicer crops we've had in a long time," says Bob Gammon, who owns Woodside Orchard in Aquebogue with his brother Scott. "The quality, size and quantity are good. Everything is looking really nice."
On Long Island, the apple season is expected to stretch into early October -- but now is the time to pick early varieties -- such as Honeycrisp -- which will be long gone by then.
Most trees are either dwarf (about 8 feet) or semi-dwarf (10 feet). If you're interested in a particular variety, it is a good idea to call for availability.
WHERE TO PICK
Davis Peach Farm
561 Hulse Landing Rd., Wading River
INFO 631-929-1115, davispeachfarm.com
HOURS 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
COST $1.20 per pound
VARIETIES About 30, including Honeycrisp, McIntosh and Tsugaru
Perhaps best known for its U-pick peaches, this orchard also has full-size apple trees planted in neat rows.
INFO 631-726-4667, hankspumpkintown.com
HOURS 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 15-17 and daily starting Sept. 22
COST $18 per one-peck bag (8-12 pounds, depending on apple size)
VARIETIES 12, including Jonagold, SunCrisp and Snow Sweet
The farm has dwarf apple trees for family-friendly picking. You'll also find roasted corn ($3) and wagon rides.
Harbes Farm and Orchard
5698 Sound Ave., Riverhead
INFO 631-298-0800, harbesfamilyfarm.com
HOURS 9 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends and Oct. 8
COST $8 a person admission includes quarter-peck bag (about 10 apples) and hayride; $15 admission includes a peck bag
VARIETIES 10, including Honeycrisp, Daybreak Fuji and Shizuka
Harbes will host its inaugural Apple Festival 10 a.m.-6 p.m. this weekend. Take a hayride ($5), listen to live music and visit the petting zoo.
Lewin Farms/Baiting Hollow Nursery
Fresh Pond Avenue, Calverton
INFO 631-929-4327, lewinfarm.com
HOURS Call before coming to see which pick-your-own fields are open.
COST $1.25 per pound
VARIETIES 13, including Empire, Mutsu, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious
The orchard's dwarf trees are marked, so you'll have to ask staffers if you're looking for a certain variety.
The Milk Pail
Horsemill Lane, Water Mill
INFO 631-537-2565, milk-pail.com
HOURS 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday and Oct. 8
COST $37 for a roughly 20-pound bag
VARIETIES 26, including Paula Red, Ginger Gold and Jonamac
In business 43 years, this orchard has a view of Mecox Bay and the ocean. Its semi-dwarf trees are clearly marked.
Seven Ponds Orchard
65 Seven Ponds Rd., Water Mill
HOURS 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
COST $1.59 per pound
VARIETIES 14, including Macoun, Cameo and SnowSweet
After picking, diversions range from hay and tractor rides to a corn maze.
Wickham's Fruit Farm
28700 Rte. 25, Cutchogue
INFO 631-734-6441, wickhamsfruitfarm.com
HOURS 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday
COST $20 annual U-pick club membership required per family, then $30 per half-bushel (about 24-25 pounds)
VARIETIES More than 12, including early varieties (Ginger Gold, Graven- stein) and late season picks (Razor, Braeburn and Winesap)
This farm started a members-only club that restricts access to the fields and orchards -- so you'll often find less of a crowd. Walk or take a free wagon ride out to its semi-dwarf apple trees.
Windy Acres Farm
3810 Main Rd./Middle Country Rd., Calverton
HOURS 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily
COST $15 per peck
VARIETIES 30, including McIntosh, Mutsu and Granny Smith
The sprawling farm has picnic and play areas for kids. The orchard has dwarf trees with many varieties for picking. Pies and doughnuts are available at the farm stand.
729 Main Rd. (Route 25), Aquebogue
INFO 631-722-5770, woodsideorchards.com
HOURS (10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily) and 116 Manor Lane, Jamesport (10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends and Oct. 8)
COST $15 per peck bag
VARIETIES 27, including Braeburn, Cortland and Arkansas Black
After visiting the orchard, visitors can enjoy the farm's fresh pies and treats such as apple cider doughnuts, apple slushes, candy apples and cookies.