The Best Places to Go Apple Picking in NY and NJ (If You’re Into That Sort of Thing)
Apple picking is the cilantro of fall activities: You either love it (so rustic! so seasonal!) or hate it (please keep me as far as possible from the sweater-clad masses). But you happen to live smack-dab in the middle of apple country, so if filling a basket with fruit straight off the tree is your jam, you’ve got more than a few options.
And while apple picking might look a little different this year (think: ticketed admission, reduced capacities and timed entry), there’s still plenty of pastoral charm, fresh cider and farm-made doughnuts ready to enjoy. (The CDC recommends prioritizing outdoor activities over indoor ones and staying within your local area as much as possible, so rest assured that hitting up a local orchard is a safe and fun way to celebrate the season.) Here, the best places for apple picking in NY and NJ, plus a few pumpkin patches, for good measure.
1. Harbes Family Farm and Harbes Orchard in Mattituck and Riverhead, NY (2 hours from NYC)
There are pumpkin patches and then there’s Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck. Here, you actually pick your gourds (some still on the vine) straight from the patch, as opposed to simply selecting your favorite from a patch of grass, as per usual. For apples, head to the Harbes Orchard in Riverhead; current offerings include lesser-known varieties like Crimson Topaz and Shizuka. Open through November 1.
Multiple locations; harbesfamilyfarm.com
2. TWIN STAR ORCHARDS IN NEW PALTZ, NY (1 HOUR, 30 MINUTES FROM NYC)
Less than two hours from the city, you’ll find a little slice of apple-scented heaven in the form of this idyllic spot, the upstate sibling to Bushwick’s Brooklyn Cider House. The orchard grows several sustainably farmed varieties, including Macoun, Jonagold and Empire. After filling an “ugly apples taste better” tote bag, stick around for wood-fired pizza and free hard cider tastings—both of which can be enjoyed outside in order to maintain social distancing protocols.
155 N. Ohioville Rd., New Paltz, NY; twinstarorchards.com
3. APPLE DAVE’S ORCHARDS & APPLEWOOD WINERY in WARWICK, NY (1 HOUR, 20 MINUTES FROM NYC)
You’ll find all the makings of a perfect fall day at this charmer in the Warwick Valley. Choose from 11 varieties of apples (McIntosh and Cortland are especially good now) or head to the pumpkin patch for some pre-Halloween decor for your stoop, window or desk. Don’t miss the homemade donuts—ideal for enjoying in the lovely outdoor area that overlooks a pond.
82 Four Corners Rd., Warwick, NY; applewoodorchards.com
4. GOLDEN HARVEST FARMS IN VALATIE, NY (2 HOURS, 30 MINUTES FROM NYC)
A bit farther than you might think to go—it’s just south of Albany—Golden Harvest is worth the trek. The 60-acre orchard offers lots of Instagram opportunities, but more important, it’s blissfully uncrowded. Head inside to grab a jug of cider (freshly pressed, not boozy) and some doughnuts hot off the machine. And if you like pie, you’ll find nine homemade varieties here, including apple nut caramel.
3074 Rte. 9, Valatie, NY; goldenharvestfarms.com
5. HARVEST MOON FARM & ORCHARD IN NORTH SALEM, NY (1 HOUR FROM NYC)
A family-owned favorite, Harvest Moon is now taking reservations for weekend apple picking. Your reservation includes entry for up to four people (kids under 10 go free), one 1/2 bushel apple picking bag (which holds approximately 25 pounds) and admission to the farm store and pumpkin patch. While the orchard’s usual fall festivals have been put on hold due to Covid-19, this one is sure to still provide plenty of fun for the entire fam.
130 Hardscrabble Rd., North Salem, NY; harvestmoonfarmandorchard.com
6. WILKENS FRUIT & FIR FARM IN YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY (1 HOUR FROM NYC)
This year marks the 104th harvest season for this Westchester homestead, so yeah, you could say the Wilkens family (which still runs the place) knows a thing or two about apples. Along with pumpkins and many local-favorite varieties like Winesap and Northern Spy, the farm is known for growing another season-specific crop: “choose-n-cut” Christmas trees. Don’t leave without a visit to the corn maze and bakery (in that order).
1335 White Hill Rd., Yorktown Heights, NY; wilkensfarm.com
7. Giamarese Farm & Orchards in East Brunswick, NJ (1 HOUR FROM NYC)
After loading your bag with apples (Suncrisp, Golden Delicious, Nittany, Red Delicious, and Winesap varieties currently available), check out the greenhouse and market to stock up on plants and baked goods. Or if you’re visiting on a weekend, why not hop on a hay ride or explore the corn maze?
155 Fresh Ponds Rd, East Brunswick, NJ; giamaresefarm.com
8. Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick, NJ (1 HOUR FROM NYC)
Where better to embrace the season’s bounty than at the largest apple orchard in New Jersey? Book a reservation online to pick your own apples and sip homemade apple wine. (Psst: There’s also hard cider and non-alcoholic apple cider available to purchase.)
Multiple locations; melickstownfarm.com
9. Barton Orchards in Poughquag, NY (1 Hour, 40 Minutes from NYC)
This popular apple picking spot has plenty of fall activities to keep visitors entertained, including an ice cream stand famous for its apple cider doughnut sundae, a dog park, a petting zoo, mini golf and the Tap Room offering local craft beer, cider, and wine.
63 Apple Tree Ln, Poughquag, NY; bartonorchards.com
10. Masker Orchards in Warwick, NY (1 HOUR 20 MINUTES FROM NYC)
This 100-plus-year-old farm is allowing visitors to drive in their cars to any of their 10,000 trees in order to avoid unnecessary exposure. And once you’ve picked your spot, you can enjoy a picnic while a picnic while you collect your apples. Other social distancing protocols include ordering farm favorites like like apple cider, apple cider doughnuts and apple pie have in advance so that they can be delivered to your car upon exiting.
45 Ball Rd, Warwick, NY; maskers.com
11. DEMAREST FARMS IN HILLSDALE, NJ (1 HOUR FROM NYC)
Home to more than 14 varieties of apples, this orchard—just 30 miles from the city—is now open for reservations (just make sure to pick up your apple picking bag online first). You’ll also find a pumpkin patch, a peach orchard (not currently in season) and private socially distanced hayrides (available for an extra cost). There’s also an on-site café that serves homemade soups, freshly baked pies and apple cider doughnuts so good, they made the cover of Bergen magazine.
244 Wierimus Rd., Hillsdale, NJ; demarestfarms.com