This weekend my girlfriend and I went out to Russell Orchards, in Ipswich, MA, to do some apple-picking. I’ve done this a couple of times before with friends, and it’s always a good time. You’re outdoors, having good conversations, getting tasty food. Most of the farms that do apple-picking have a farm store with a bunch of other delicious treats; Russel Orchards has everything from apple cider donuts to fudge to wine. They’ll sometimes even set up a small stage and have live music; when friends and I went here to catch the tail-end of berry-picking season last August, there was a great folk singer who covered some Tom Petty songs we requested.
This year, my girlfriend organized the apple-picking so we and friends could follow it with a baking party. The guys peeled and chopped while the girls did the “actual” cooking stuff, haha. Apple fritters and an apple pie (with homemade crust) were the results of labor, but we’ve got plenty of apples left over for future snacks.
Apple-picking season should last through the end of October, but don’t wait too long or all the good apples will be gone. I’d recommend Russell Orchards; you can take the commuter rail to Ipswich and a cheap taxi to/back from the farm. Or, if you or a friend have a car, I’d also recommend Honey Pot Hill, in Stow, MA. They’ve got a sprawling apple orchard with gigantic trees. You get to use ladders to climb up and pick apples from the tree tops.