Nothing symbolizes the beginning of fall quite the way apple picking does. As we inch further into September and October we take notice of the trees that have started to turn, giving us a glimpse of the bright and fiery colors soon to line the horizon. The sun’s rays are still warm overhead though gentle breezes swirl among the leaves, bringing with them the sweet smells of the ripened fruit. We fill our bags, our carriages and wagons, our pockets and totes with the just picked fruit. We stop now and then, to take a bite, our mouths fill with the meat that’s sweet and in same cases tart. A perfect crunch. A refreshing bite. An afternoon of picking may lend itself to a hayride or a long stroll through the orchard followed by a visit to the farm stand for cider and fresh apple cider donuts. It’s a day of family bonding. Of being outside. Of ditching the electronics. And no matter how the years pass and how the children grow, it’s something they do look forward to year after year. For memories are made and traditions are passed along. Our children will one day bring their children to the farm, and maybe they’ll ask us to come along as well.
An overflowing bowl of red and green on the kitchen counter is a natural way to bring the outdoors inside. A little pop of seasonal decor. An easy and healthy snack. But the best part of apple picking, at least in this household, is the baking that ensues. Year after year we open our Fanny Farmer Cookbook. The dog-eared page is so tattered it crumbles. But her apple pie has become a part of our tradition. Warm, and a la mode, of course.
Below are several of our favorite places to go apple picking.
And if you keep scrolling you’ll find our favorite Apple Pie recipe as well as a recipe for Apple Cider Donuts by locally-based Herbacious Catering.
A tenth generation family farm on a gorgeous hilltop offering fall fruits: apples & pears, along with goodies from many area farms as well, including ice cream, squash, and pumpkins. Open 9:30-5:30 every day Address: 250 Calhoun Street, Washington Depot, CT 06794
Beardsley’s Cider Mill & Orchard
Their farm store is open daily from 10am-5:30pm. They have lots of other fresh seasonal produce as well as apples. You’ll find your requisite apple cider, pies, donuts, cookies, honey, and more. The store accepts debit/credit cards but Pick-Your-Own does not. You can pay with cash or by check.
It should be noted that picking is limited to WEEKENDS ONLY (Saturdays and Sundays) from 10am-5pm, weather permitting.
Address: 278 Leavenworth Road, Route 110 in the White Hills section of Shelton, CT 06484
Address: 124 Moose Hill Road, Oxford, CT.
Bishop’s Orchards is an agricultural operation in Guilford, Connecticut, that serves as a farm, retail market, tourist attraction and winery. Bishop’s Orchards began operating as a family farm in 1871. Open 10am-5pm everyday
Address: 1355 Boston Post Rd, Guilford, CT 06437
Blue Jay Orchards
Blue Jay Orchards is a picturesque 140 acre farm nestled in the quaint New England town of Bethel, Connecticut. It is one of the very few remaining commercial orchards in Fairfield County. They offer apple picking, a pumpkin patch and wagon rides. Open everyday from 9am-6pm
May we suggest a drive over to nearby Ferris Acres Creamery? Arguably one of the best in CT!
Address: 125 Plumtrees Rd. Bethel CT, 06801
Ellsworth Hill Orchard & Berry Farm
Located in the scenic Litchfield Hills, this family-owned and operated farm lets you pick your own strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, plum, sweet corn, pears, apples, pumpkins and gourds. They also have hay rides, an amazing corn maze and a vintage train set for the kiddies to play with. Open Monday-Saturday: 9am-6pm and Sunday 8am-4pm
Address: 461 Cornwall Bridge Rd. Rte.4, Sharon CT – Approx 1 hour 20 minutes from Westport
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard (NY)
Looking for a little adventure? This New York orchard is situated on 200 plus acres located in the Croton Falls section of North Salem. Attractions include barnyard animals, a greenhouse, apple picking, hay rides, a small shop that stocks mostly vintage and antique kitchen items, and an overflowing farm stand of myriad produce, much of it grown on the property: apples, plums, peaches, squash, tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, and more. There’s also honey, maple syrup, fudge, preserves, and baked goods–the warm doughnuts and cider are a store favorite. Open daily 9am-430pm
Address: 130 Hardscrabble Rd, Croton Falls, NY
Established in 1741, the farm is located on 1,100 acres in the beautiful Connecticut River Valley. You’ll find apples, pears, pumpkins and more. The Apple Barrel offers fresh baked pies, apple cider donuts, muffins, cookies, breads, pastries and more desserts. Apple barrel is open 9am-7pm daily.
Address: 32 Reeds Cap Rd. Middlefield, CT 06455 –Approx.
Outhouse Orchards (NY)
Their one of a kind farm is a must see during the Fall season. Take a trip up to scenic Croton Falls and walk through their Apple orchard as the leaves change color around you. Their farm stand is currently open until ThanksGiving specializing in apples, produce from their gardens (especially leafy greens), local honey and maple syrup. They also offer hayrides and have an awesome corn maze. Open daily 9am-5pm
Address: 139 Hardscrabble Road , North Salem, NY 10560 – Approx. 45 minutes from Westport
After your hayride to the top of the apple hill, enjoy their five-acre Animal Farm, and Country Market . Conditions change daily, so please call before coming for picking conditions!
APPLES – now picking, though kinds change daily! And as always, available at their farm market – daily-fresh baked pies, cider donuts and baked goods, local honey, syrups and more! Animal farm will be open daily till Christmas (weather permitting) Open daily 9am-5pm.
Address: 451 Sport Hill Rd, Easton, CT 06612
Fanny Farmer’s Apple Pie
Your favorite recipe for pie crust or store bought (We like Pillsbury’s)
6 large apples, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup sugar, if your apples are very sweet you can cut down on the sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsps flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
Mix all filling ingredients, except butter, together in a large bowl. Place filling ingredients in bottom crust, dot with butter, put top crust on. Crimp the pie dough edges together. Cut a couple of slits in the top of the pie crust.
Bake at 425º for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350º and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes.
Baked Apple Cider Donuts
1 ½ cups apple cider
2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
2 tablespoon melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a donut pan with cooking spray]
2. On the stove top, start by reducing your apple cider. In a heavy bottomed sauce cook your apple cider on medium low heat for 20 minutes. Checking after ten to make sure its reducing ok. You want to reduce it to ½ cup
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon & salt. Set aside
4. In a separate bowl whisk together both sugars, melted butter, egg, milk & vanilla. Add your dry ingredients & cider reduction, whisk until fully incorporated
5. Spoon or pipe into donut mold tin. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool in pan for 2 minutes.
6. Topping- melt remaining butter on the stove top, mix together sugar & cinnamon. Dip each donut into butter & then into sugar mix. ENJOY!
About Herbacious Catering
Herbaceous Catering was born from a simple love of food. We then take that love and spread it to our local farmers to ensure the highest quality ingredients from all over Connecticut. We create custom menus for our clients to guarantee a menu that is perfectly designed for their palettes & parties. We are well versed in food allergies, so making a beautiful meal that is gluten free & or vegan is not a problem. There is above & beyond so much love that goes into our food. It starts at seed, then to harvest, then from our kitchen to your table.
We are a scratch kitchen, this means that nothing processed or pre packaged comes across our cutting board. We do everything from curing our own meats, to cheese making, to making gourmet ice creams. Having us be your private chef is an experience you won’t be able to get anywhere else. The menu is always fresh, fusing only the best local & seasonal produce with big flavors. We draw inspiration from the culinary histories & traditions we have inherited from our families. We are devoted to personalized menu that is ambitious and imaginative to fit your specific palette. And of course our food is always delicious.
Genee Habansky has been cooking for her loved ones for a long time. She started her career at The Natural Gourmet Institute studying healthful and healing cuisine. Once graduated, she began to intern under Jon Vaast at The Dressing Room in Westport, CT. This developed into a deep love for seasonal and local cuisine. Other restaurants she’s worked in include Paganos Seafood, Heirloom, Walrus + Carpenter and Centro. Through this time, she developed skills in both front and back of the house