Top three places to apple pick in Massachusetts


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As the New England fall weather settles in, we found the best places to go apple picking!

It’s finally fall. More importantly, it’s officially apple picking season! If you’re wondering where and what to do with the apples you will undoubtedly pick, we’ve got you covered! We chose the top three spots to apple (and pumpkin) pick in Massachusetts.

In third place is The Belkin Family Lookout Farm, located in South Natick, just 10-20 minutes outside of the city. Belkin is easily accessible but often very busy. It’s also relatively close to Wellesley center, where there are various cafes, restaurants, and supermarkets.

Belkin is known for its kid-friendly rides, which are scheduled to reopen after the pandemic. It’s still got a lot to offer, including an open outdoor seating area called the Greenhouse. Belkin features classic apples such as Gala, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith. The only noticeably over-picked area was the Honeycrisp section, which is the most popular due to its sweetness.

Belkin has a rich history. It was founded three hundred years ago and is one of the oldest farms in the United States. Minister John Elliot established the farm in 1650 and different owners have passed through ever since. Despite Belkin being a community staple in Natick, it still has a commercialized feel, especially when compared to other farms.

Up next is Dowse Orchards in Boston’s MetroWest area. It’s situated on a hillside and is only accessible through a dirt road. While Belkin cares for 150 acres of apple trees, Dowse farm cares for only 50 giving it a cozy, down-to-earth feel.

For 200 years, the farm has been cared for by the Dowse family. They’ve recently been given the Silver Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for Service to Agriculture. Alex Dowse, a co-owner of the farm, was there during our visit.

“We decided a long time ago to keep this as simple as possible”, Alex Dowse, the co-owner of the orchard, said.

They definitely follow through with that description. The farm has a small town, rustic feel. The orchard even owns a lively 16-year old golden retriever named Hope that greets its guests.

At Belkin, the apples were easy to reach and the orchard, while crowded, had many apples to choose from. At Dowse, while an apple picker was needed, there were far more apples with far taller trees. Some would argue the apple picker made it even more fun!

If you’re looking for an authentic apple picking experience, you definitely want to check out Dowse. Its rolling hills and leafy trees create a country atmosphere.

In first place is Tangerini Farm, located in Millis, Massachusetts. This farm is the best of both worlds. Like Dowse, it’s also a family-owned farm and spans 65 acres. It also shares similar features to Belkin, without the profit-based feel. Tangerini farm is classically charming, with a picturesque setting. It’s filled with trees, flowers and lots of good food.

There are a variety of products on its farmer stand, where they sell locally grown food, including of my personal fall favorites, apple cider donuts! They also have a Farmer’s Porch, which is a restaurant that features five different menus depending on the season. All food featured on the menu is fresh from the farm to your fork. They even offer take-out!

Tangerini farm has an ice cream shop and kids will enjoy the scenic hayride. Of course, let’s not forget the apple picking. Tangerini farm has a variety of apples ranging from Jonagold, Mutzu, Macoun, Cortland, Ginger Gold, and Macintosh. The farm also has hydrangea picking and is now mainly featuring pumpkins. Tangerini also has live music. When I visited the farm, Jennifer Tefft, a talented musician, was singing acoustic pop while playing guitar.

Not only does Tangerini farm have lots of fun activities, it simultaneously keeps its quaint and genuine feel at the heart of everything it does.

Now that you know the best places to pick apples, you may be wondering, ‘What should I do with them?’ Anna Thorton, who owns Far Hills Orchard in Brattleboro Vermont, shared her tips on how to turn freshly picked apples into a delicious treat, perfect for the fall season.

Originally the property was set up as a commercial orchard but had not been maintained for about 15 years. Thornton bought the farm with no previous orchard maintaining experience. Yet, she adapted to new challenges along the way, and currently has six varieties of apples on the farm, with more coming soon. Thornton shared some of her most helpful tips.

“Often you end up with more apples than you need, so be picky. Pick the right apple for what you want to do. Macs make great sauce, but when you bake them they tend to turn to mush, our go-to dessert this season is an apple crisp, ” said Thorton. “If you want your apples to stay apple-shaped when you bake, you need to find a baking apple. In our orchard, we use the Jonagold.”

Apple picking is Thorton’s favorite part of the farm, and we hope that our readers get that same experience.

“It’s amazing to walk into the orchard, the pollinators make the entire space vibrate and you can smell the blossoms. I love when you get your first apple off the tree and take that first bite,” Thorton said.