Fall has arrived in Vermont. There’s a crispness to the air and days are growing shorter. The trees have nearly all changed their leaves and brilliant pops of reds, oranges, and yellows now dot the fields, rolling hills, and mountainsides. On autumn days like these, our minds turn to cozy flannels, hot beverages, leaf-peeping, and fresh-baked pies—especially apple pies made with local Vermont apples!
Apple-picking season starts in late August and lasts until late October, so plan your visit accordingly. Vermont is home to dozens of orchards that cultivate over 150 different varieties of apples annually. While it’s great to support our local farmers markets where you can buy apples by the bushel, picking your own fresh from the trees is fun for the whole family. Most orchards have ladders and specialized tools available to help even small children reach those perfectly ripe apples way at the top of the tree.
An Apple a Day…
Vermonters love apples so much that we made it our official state fruit. We even have an official state pie—you guessed it—apple! Apples have long been a vital part of Vermonters’ diets since early European settlers brought over cultivars (seeds and saplings) from their homelands. Because apple trees are hardy and produce fruit annually for many years, it was not uncommon for most early homesteads to have a stand of several trees or even a full orchard on their land. Apples were also fed to livestock and foraged by game animals. The only apple native to North America before other varieties were introduced, was the crabapple. Crabapples are a much smaller and tarter variety than the apples we enjoy today, and are not usually suitable for raw consumption, at least by people. Once picked, apples can last about a week, unrefrigerated, before they begin to spoil. But contrary to the common saying, “one bad apple spoils the bunch,” spoiled apples also have important uses, especially when it comes to making cider.
Apples, Apples Everywhere…
Apples are one of America’s favorite fruits, making them an important part of our agricultural industry, with nearly 2,500 varieties—and counting—grown and harvested annually. There are also hybrid varieties unique to specific orchards and the farmers who develop them. You can easily find many varieties of Vermont apples at our farmers’ markets and roadside fruit stands, but if you can, we recommend visiting one of our many orchards and picking your own!
As with pick-your-own berries, apples are often sold by weight, and some orchards will provide you with baskets or bags, while others encourage pickers to bring their own containers. Some orchards also lend out ladders, wagons, and fruit picking tools. Be sure to keep an eye out for “Pick Your Own” signs (sometimes shortened to “PYO” or “U-Pick”) along the roads as you travel through the Green Mountain State!
Here are some Vermont orchards where you can pick your own apples:
Wellwood Orchards, Springfield, VT – 14 miles from our Rockingham, VT store
Green Mountain Orchards, Putney, VT – 22 miles from our Rockingham, VT store
Mad Tom Orchard, East Dorset, VT – 26 miles from our Weston, VT store
Propagation Piece Orchard, Shaftsbury, VT – 36 miles from our Weston, VT store
Terry’s Orchard, Bennington, VT – 40 miles from our Weston, VT store
Moore’s Orchard, North Pomfret, VT – 43 miles from our Weston, VT store
Cobble Knoll Orchard, Benson, VT – 48 miles from our Weston, VT store
Happy Valley Orchard, Middlebury, VT – 59 miles from our Weston, VT store
Champlain Orchards, Shoreham, VT – 63 miles from our Weston, VT store
Sunrise Orchards, Cornwall, VT – 64 miles from our Weston, VT store
Liberty Orchards, Brookfield, VT – 69 miles from our Weston, VT store
Stine Orchard, Monkton, VT – 76 miles from our Weston, VT store
Adams Apple Orchard, Williston, VT – 90 miles from our Weston, VT store
Chapin Orchard, Essex Junction, VT – 98 miles from our Weston, VT store