May 26, 2024
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May 26, 2024
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Picking the Fruits of the Season

As the dog days of summer give way to the brisk breezes of September, now is a great time to pick your own peaches, nectarines and apples at local orchards. Peaches and nectarines are generally available from mid-July through early September, while apple-picking season starts in September and lasts through mid-October. Picking your own fruit is a great activity for adults and children of all ages—it is a perfect way to enjoy some quality time outside with the whole family, and the results are sure to be delicious!

There are plenty of other things that you can do to enrich your family’s trip to the orchard. Here are some ideas:

Get reading

Preparing for your visit by reading one of the many books about apples will help children to understand and appreciate this special experience. “The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree” by Gail Gibbons will introduce the youngest children to the changing seasons through the eyes of Arnold, a young boy who observes his apple tree throughout the course of the year. In “Applesauce Season” by Eden Ross Lipson, a family looks forward to their annual tradition of visiting the farmers’ market and making fresh applesauce. (Children and adults alike will enjoy hearing the many names of the different varieties of apples they encounter.) And those ready for a more sophisticated exploration of how the bare branches of winter produce delicious fruits for us to pick will enjoy “How Do Apples Grow” by Betsy Maestro.

Get creative

After visiting an orchard, kids can document their experiences in an age-appropriate way. Toddlers can fingerpaint—consider drawing a tree for them to decorate with red and yellow fingerprints for the apples or peaches. And for older children, there is nothing more timeless than creating a still life of a bowl of fruit. Allow your child to arrange the fruit and to create a rendering using the medium of their choice—crayons, colored pencils, markers, paints—anything goes. The less artistically inclined might prefer to write a poem or story inspired by the experience.

Get cooking

If your family is like most, you will probably have so much fun finding and picking the perfect peaches and apples that you will leave with more fruit than you know what to do with. This is the perfect opportunity to engage the whole family in a cooking or baking project. Peach cobbler, apple pie—the possibilities are endless. Baked apples require very few ingredients and will fill your home with the most delicious aroma of apples and cinnamon. Whatever you choose to bake, the whole family is sure to enjoy the “fruits” of your labor.

Here are some of the local spots for picking:

Demarest Farms

244 Wierimus Road

Hillsdale, NJ

(201) 666-0472

Peach picking is currently available; apple picking begins at the beginning of September. $5 per person admission includes a hayride (as well as corn maze and visit with farm animals during apple picking season). Bags to hold picked peaches/apples are $9.

Ripple Hill Farm

181 Mountain Road

Basking Ridge, NJ

(908) 647-1300

Apple picking available starting in September. Please call for current pricing information.

The Orchards of Concklin

2 S Mountain Rd

Pomona, NY

(845) 354-0369

Apple picking available starting late September (please call ahead for current information before visiting). All adults and children 3+ are required to purchase a bag to hold picked apples for $9.00.

Wightman’s Farms

1111 Mt. Kemble Avenue

Morristown, NJ

(973) 425-0840 (hotline information is updated every Thursday)

Peaches, nectarines and several varieties of apples are currently available. A seasonal membership fee of $15.00 gives up to 5 people access to the orchard for the season. Membership entitles you to a discount on the cost per pound of the fruit you pick and other discounts on farm-related purchases.

By Rachel Jager

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