Have you considered a bargain staycation near a u-pick fruit farm or apple orchard in New England? If so, Massachusetts family farms — some even wind-powered — are your destination.
This year, keep in mind that to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, many U-pick farms require face coverings and advance reservations. Check their websites before you go. Some have altered their hours to limit the crowds and maintain social distancing as well.
Enjoy a Local Farm Visit!
Farm stays are a great way to introduce kids to healthy eating and the wonders of nature, and experiencing a pick-your-own fruit farm will reinforce the message. If school has started remotely, enhance your afternoons with a daytrip to a local apple orchard or pumpkin patch. Celebrate the fall season with festivals and entertainment.
Visit our Massachusetts picks around Stow, Phillipston and South Natick, and read on for reviews and more information about apple picking around the Boston, Massachusetts metropolitan area. For a complete guide to apple picking orchards and farms across the country, visit our FTF Directory of Top USA U-Pick Farms.
Apple Picking in the Boston Metro Area
From the Boston Metropolitan area, a few choices for apple picking and farm stand browsing offer excellent day trips for those looking for a pleasant autumn afternoon in Eastern Massachusetts.
Just 20 minutes out of Boston is Belkin Family Lookout Farms, with a playground, bouncy house, train rides, face painting, and addition of more play areas. The Belkin family offers pear, peach and raspberry picking, as well as apple picking from specially dwarfed trees that allow younger visitors easier reach to the fruit. They have 50,000 trees in all! Their farm was established in 1651 yet they keep up with the times; checkout the new Tap Room. They also have a petting farm for the kids, and plenty of picnic space for the whole family.
The very popular Red Apple Farm in Phillipston is just 60 miles from Boston. Because it’s at more than 1,250 feet above sea level, this farm’s fruit is different (some say better) than the others. They feature a wide selection of pick-your-own berries, pumpkins and more than 50 varieties of apples. Check their online schedule, because this farming family plans special weekend activities for kids including hayrides and barbecues.
For example, Wachusett Mountain Applefest, always the 3rd weekend in October features live music and entertainment, a large craft fair, and seasonal food. Kids love the Red Apple’s Black Forest maze and activity barn and we love that this place is 100% sun and wind-powered. Don’t miss their shop in Boston Public Market, open daily year round with enticing donuts and much more.
At Tougas Family Farm, you can count on weekend wagon rides, a small farmyard petting zoo with goats, and excellent cider donuts. Tougas, selected by USA Today as one of the “top 10 places to pick your own” gets super busy in the weeks before Halloween, so if it’s apples — and they grow honeycrisp! — or pumpkins you want, call ahead before you drive out there.
The oldest pick-your-own orchard is in Stow, eastern Massachusetts, just 20 miles east of Boston. Shelburne Farm offers a field full of peaches, Asian pears, pumpkins, and over 15 varieties of apples. Their apple shop is stocked with sweet cider, hot apple pies, fresh cider doughnuts, and “almost famous” caramel apples.
U-Pick Farms and More in the Berkshires
About 2 hours west of Boston you’ll encounter the very best of the Berkshire Mountains, a popular resort area known for the concerts at Tanglewood and the leaf-peeping and museum-going around Lee and Lenox. If you’re headed that way, download a copy of the Berkshire Grown Guide to Local Food & Farms, which has comprehensive lists of farmers markets and PYO farms, with information on what’s in season when.
Contact Information for Regional Boston U-Pick Farms
Before you head out, consider what you’ll do with the apples that you pick. The most popular varieties for eating include the Macintosh, Empire, Fuji, Idared, Red Delicious, and the Jonathon. One of our favorites is the large and juicy honeycrisp. If sauces or pies are in the plan, try the Golden Delicious, Russet, Cortland and the Mutsu. You may want to call ahead and see who’s got what left on their trees!
Belkin Family Lookout Farm, 508/653-0653, 89 Pleasant St. South, South Natick, MA 01760
Red Apple Farm, 800/628-4851, 455 Highland Ave., Phillipston, MA 01331
Shelburne Farm, 978/897-9287, 106 West Acton Road, Stow, MA 01775
Russell Orchards, 978/356-5366, 143 Argilla Road, Ipswich, MA 01938
Tougas Family Farm, 508/393-6406, 234 Ball Street, Northboro, MA01532
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