Important announcement: apple cider donuts are here! Of course, so are apples, freshly-pressed apple cider, and caramel apples. Now is the ideal time to head to your nearest orchard to pick your own fruit. Fortunately, there’s a great crop of farms within convenient driving distance of Boston, where all your fall dreams can become an apple-flavored reality! Here are 8 of them:
1. Brooksby Farms (Peabody)
Throughout the year, you can pick your own berries, peaches, and apples at this orchard. Inside the farm stand, feast your eyes on goodies like apples, apple cider, apple cider donuts, and much more. The store is open every day from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and, when crops are available, u-pick runs from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. daily. This charming farm is located at 54 Felton Street in Peabody.
2. Wilson Farm (Lexington)
You can’t just go to Wilson Farm one time; after stepping inside this "farm stand," which is the size of a small supermarket, you’re guaranteed to become a devoted customer. Rather than a pick-your-own set up, Wilson offers a CSA program and, of course, the store. The farm covers more than 500 acres of land, divided between Massachusetts and New Hampshire and grows 125 types of fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Founded in 1884, the folks here have had plenty of time to perfect their products, including their own apples, apple cider, cider donuts, and hand-dipped caramel apples. Head to 10 Pleasant Street in Lexington and try these treats for yourself. The store is open from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. on weekends.
3. Dowse Orchards (Sherborn)
It’s hard to resist the pull of motto like the one for Dowse Orchards, which claims to have been producing "America’s Best Crunchin’ Apples Since 1778." Here you’ll find a farm store stocked with preserves made in-house, apple cider freshly pressed each week, and much more. Dowse Orchards grows 20 different varieties of apples and you can pick your own fruit here. The stand is located at 98 N Main Street in Sherborn. Call 508.653.2639 for details about picking hours.
4. Boston Hill Farm (North Andover)
Depending on the time of year, you can gather your own strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, apples, and pumpkins at this farm, which has been family-run for 12 generations! Unlike many farm stands, this market isn’t seasonal and you can stop by daily, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. At this time of year, load up on cider donuts and caramel apples; then buy some feed and make friends with the farm’s sheep, goats, chickens, and rabbits. Boston Hill Farm is located at 1370 Turnpike Street (also called Route 114) in North Andover.
5. Bolton Spring Farm (Bolton)
Confession time: I recently drove two hours round trip just for one of the apple cider donuts here! (Don’t judge before you’ve tasted.) Everyone has their favorite donut spot, but the freshly made, warm puffs of heaven sold at this farm stand should top any list. From Labor Day weekend, you can also pick your own apples every day between the hours of 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., while the farm stand is open from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. each day.
6. Connor’s Farm (Danvers)
Your kids will adore you if you take them to Connor’s. Okay, maybe they’ll just put down their tech and talk to you for a minute, but after that they’ll be too busy mining for gems, taking a hayride, exploring the intricate corn maze or checking out the "destruction zone," which has an apple cannon! (You do need to pay admission for these attractions.)
With all the entertainment options, it’s easy to forget that you can pick your own apples, blueberries, peaches, and raspberries here as well. Call 978-777-1245 to find out what’s currently available to pick. Alternatively, shop for your produce at the farm stand, which is open every day (seasonally) from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Connor’s Farm is located at 30 Valley Road,
7. Tangerini’s Spring Street Farm (Mills)
Tangerini’s is a great pick-your-own option if you want to stock up on apples (you need to purchase at least half a peck). Call 508-376-5024 for the most up-to-date picking information. An impressive 98 percent of the produce here is organic and you can also buy from the farm stand, open from 9:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. This farm boasts a petite on-site restaurant and ice cream shop and, on weekends, the "Fun on the Farm" program featuring hay rides and a hay maze is currently in full swing. Tangerini’s is located at 139 Spring Street in Mills.
8. Russell Orchards (Ipswich)
Reasonable PYO prices (bring cash), a wine tasting room, bakery, freshly-pressed apple cider, and hayrides await you at Russell Orchards. In addition to apples, blackberries and blueberries are also ready to be harvested – double check
for the most up-to-date picking information. You can pick your own fruit from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily and the store is open an extra hour, until 6:00 p.m. Russell Orchards is located at 143 Argilla Road in Ipswich.
What’s your favorite orchard, farm stand, or pick-your-own operation near Boston? Let us know on the
Only In Boston Facebook page or in the comments below.