Even the smallest kids can reach for a juicy apple at a u-pick orchard. And apples there are aplenty with varieties good for eating raw, baking into pies or applesauce. Most orchards that welcome pickers charge by the bag (in some cases, a per-person admission fee will often include a small bag). The key to good picking is to follow the farm's cues when it comes to what's ripe during your visit. Erick Lewin, owner of Lewin Farms in Calverton suggests Mutsu and Granny Smith for baking, and Gala and Yellow Delicious for eating.
Apple-picking this fall will see enhanced guidelines for social distancing, not limited to additional hand-washing and sanitizing stations, along with sneeze guards around the cashiers. "We're shooting for the stars this year under the COVID circumstances," says Lynne Kraszewsk, co-owner at Hank's Pumpkintown in Water Mill, "and hoping for the best with u-pick participants and our apple crop."
Here's a list of orchards in our area that offer a variety of apples to snap right off the tree:
HANK’S PUMPKINTOWN, 240 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill, 631-726-4667, hankspumpkintown.com. Hours: 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends and holidays through Oct. Varieties: McIntosh, Macoun, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Empire, Gala, Fuji, Cameo, Mutsu, Suncrisp, Cortland, SnowSweet. Fee: About $25 for 10-pound bag, 4 person limit per bag. Local apple cider and hard cider for sale, too.
HARBES ORCHARD, 5698 Sound Ave., Riverhead, 631-369-1111 or 631-298-0700, harbesorchard.com. Hours: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Mon-Fri. and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun. and holidays through Nov. 1., check website for more up-to-date info. Varieties: Honeycrisp, Jonagold, McIntosh, Fuji, Cameo, Aztec Rose Fuji, Suncrisp, Enterprise, Maslin Pink Lady, Gala and Shizuoka (golden, large, similar to a Mutsu) Fee: From $16 a person for ages 3 and older.
HAYDEN’S ORCHARD, 561 Hulse Landing Rd., Wading River, 631-929-1115. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Oct. Varieties: Cortland, McIntosh, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Gala. Fee: $2 a pound.
LEWIN FARMS / BAITING HOLLOW NURSERIES, Fresh Pond Avenue, Calverton, 631-929-4327, lewinfarm.com. Hours: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekends and holidays early Sept. through mid-Oct. Varieties: Gala, Cortland, Empire, Granny Smith, Yellow Delicious, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Rome, Macoun, Mutsu and Fuji. Fee: $2.25 a pound; $8 minimum per adult and $5 ages 5-12 minimum purchase required; 5 cents for bags, $4 for baskets to carry apples, or bring your own bags and baskets.
SEVEN PONDS ORCHARD, 65 Seven Ponds Rd., Water Mill, 631-726-8015, nwsdy.li/3iieYOC. Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily through Nov. Varieties: Ginger Gold, Gala, Honeycrisp, Empire, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Cameo, Fuji, Granny Smith, SnowSweet and Jonagold. Fee: From $14 for 2 people for a half peck bag (5 pounds); $24 for four people for a 10-pound bag. Apple cider and roasted corn for sale, too.
THE MILK PAIL, 50 Horsemill Lane, Water Mill, 631-537-2565, milk-pail.com. Hours 10 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun. and holidays through Oct. Varieties: McIntosh, Jonamac, Gala, Honeycrisp, Empire, Jonagold, Mutsu, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Winesap, Milk Pail 24, Milk Pail 49, Milk Pail 50, Idared, Fuji, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Gold Rush and Pink Lady. Fee: $50 for a large bag (20 pounds), $14 for a small bag (5 pounds). Farm stand sells fresh-pressed apple cider.
WICKHAM’S FRUIT FARM, 28700 Rte. 25, Cutchogue, 631-734-6441, wickhamsfruitfarm.com. Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Thur.; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Closed Sundays. Varieties: Ginger Gold, Gravenstein, Gala, Mutsu, Fuji, Jonagold, Razor, Braeburn, Winesap, Cameo, Red Delicious, Empire, Snap Dragon, Ruby Frost. Fee: $20-$40. Farm stand sells fresh-pressed apple cider
WINDY ACRES FARM, 3810 Middle Country Rd., Calverton, 631-727-4554, nwsdy.li/2DulNOb. Hours: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. through Oct. Varieties: McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Mutsu and Granny Smith. Fee: $10 ages 2 and older includes 4 ½-pound bag; $30 15-pound box. Farm stand sells local apple cider.
WOODSIDE ORCHARDS, 729 Main Rd. (Route 25), Aquebogue, woodsideorchards.com, 631-722-5770. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Thur.- Sun., 11:30-5:30 weekdays (closed Wed.) Labor Day thru Oct. Varieties 6, including Idared, Red Delicious, Gala, and Mutsu. Fee $20 for a 12-15-pound bag per group. Farm stand sells fresh-pressed apple cider, cider doughnuts, pies, apple breads and candy apples and offers hard cider tastings.
WOODSIDE ORCHARDS, 116 Manor Lane, Jamesport, 631-722-5770, woodsideorchards.com. Hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends and holidays, Sept. through Oct. Varieties Gala, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Empire, Jonagold, Braeburn, Cortland, Mutsu, Arkansas Black and Granny Smith. Fee $17 for a 12- to 15-pound bag per group. Farm stand sells fresh-pressed apple cider, cider doughnuts, pies, apple breads and candy apples and offers hard cider tastings.