If you grew up in New England, you know what this time of year is all about – apple picking.
As the air develops a crisp chill and the leaves start to change from green to red and gold, the apples trees are ready for people to come and pick their fruits right off the branches. We’re fortunate enough to live in a city where there are two places to do such a thing – Carter Hill Orchard and Apple Hill Farm.
The two farms are similar in what they offer, but they’re on opposite sides of town, so everybody can eat, so to speak.
At Carter Hill, on Carter Hill Road (who’d have thunk?), apples ready for picking right now include Macs, Cortlands, Galas, Honeycrisps, Fujis and Macouns. Next up will be the Mutsu, Empire, Northern Spy, Granny Smith, Braeburn and Pink Lady varieties, which could be ready as soon as next week. Apples are also for sale inside the farm stand.
If you go into the farm stand – which you should – you’ll also find all kinds of treats like their famous apple cider doughnuts, pies, breads, whoopie pies, cookies, jams and more. You’ll also find New Hampshire Cider Works cider, which they make right there at the orchard.
There’s also a playground for the kids, as well as wagon rides to take you out to some of the farther-away trees. There’s even a raptor observation tower, which you can climb to get some pretty incredible views, even if there aren’t any birds out.
Carter Hill is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. For more info, go to carterhillapples.com.
At Apple Hill Farm (580 Mountain Road), you can pick Macs, Cortlands, Galas and Honeycrisps right now – other varieties may ripen between the time I write this and when you read it, so give them a call at 224-8862 if you’re curious. If you don’t have time to pick, you can just grab a bag from inside the farm stand.
Apple Hill also sells a lot of cider, and they make a ton of sweets on site, too (see page 14 for an example), which are all pretty mouth-watering. On weekends, when the weather cooperates, the Molly snack wagon operates right next to the farm stand from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., selling treats made at the farm such as apple crisp with whipped cream, hot doughnuts, fresh cider and maybe even some slices of pie.
There’s a playground here, too, and hayrides are available on the weekends.
“We sometimes do a Halloween ho-down with the Children’s Place, so stay tuned for that,” said Apple Hill owner Diane Souther.
Apple Hill is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Go to applehillfarmnh.com for more info.