Take Your Pick

When the apple picking is through, there's plenty on Westchester farms to keep you and the kids entertained


After you’ve finished picking your apples, there’s still plenty to keep you down on the farm: homemade food, children’s entertainment, nature trails, adorable animals, even distilleries and wine-tasting rooms. Check out what you can do—and what’s new—at 16 farms and orchards around the Valley. 


1. Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, Yorktown (Westchester)
There are no fewer than three markets here, selling pies, cider, preserves, and more. But the runaway bestseller is the newly introduced chocolate-covered cider doughnut. After you’ve had a few, hop on a wagon ride to your apple of choice. A farm winery license might be in their future, so stay-tuned. wilkensfarm.com; 914.245.5111



2. Salinger’s Orchard, Brewster (Putnam)
Not a u-pick, this operation harvests its own, so you can grab your favorites on your way home from work. Locally produced preserves, dressings, and honey are available, as are occasional fig trees from a local arborist. salingersorchard.com; 845.277.3521



3. Fishkill Farms, East Fishkill (Dutchess)
Don’t be put off by the white stuff on the 50-plus varieties of apples. It’s kaolin clay, a completely nontoxic substance used to deter insect pests on this eco-apple farm. Just behind the well-stocked farm store is a back porch with a killer view where you can picnic in peace. Farm-to-table dinners, yoga workshops, and scavenger hunts are among fun events. fishkillfarms.com; 845.897.4377



4. Barton Orchards, Poughquag (Dutchess)
This place is a children’s paradise, with a five-acre corn maze, haunted house, bouncy inflatables, a petting zoo, gemstone mining…and, of course, apple picking. There are some 25 types, so you’ll be kept busy all season long. bartonorchards.com; 845.471.2879



5. Montgomery Place Orchards, Red Hook and Annandale-on-Hudson (Dutchess)
Farmers Doug and Talea Fincke grow almost 70 apple varieties, many of which are unlikely to be found elsewhere. Last January, Montgomery Place, a National Historic Landmark, was acquired by Bard College, which plans to renew the Finckes’ long-term lease, ensuring more intriguing apples at this farm stand for years to come. mporchards.com; 845.758.6388 



6. Apple Dave’s Orchard, Warwick (Orange) 
Formerly Applewood Orchard, this popular destination offers guests a gateway to the natural world featuring ponds, gardens, and a new walking trail. It also hosts live music and puppet shows for the kids and a very cool, spooky Halloween shop. Drop in at the distillery, which is hoping to introduce Frank Forrester’s Skull Cracker Applejack this fall. Applewood Winery is next door, offering wine-tastings and hard cider. applewoodorchards.com; 845.986.1684



7. Masker Orchards, Warwick (Orange)
Open since the days of Prohibition, this classic has welcomed generations to pick their own. The solid apple selection includes a few surprise choices. Weekend pony rides and a haunted house keep the kids busy. Don’t miss the store, where you can buy a handy-dandy apple corer to bring home. maskers.com; 845.986.1058



8. Penning’s Farm, Warwick (Orange)
Kids love to feed the goats and chicks. Foodies cruise the market for artisan breads, meats, sauces, fresh eggs, and more. A year-round pub and grill in a converted barn serves local craft beer and house specialties like fish and chips and Mediterranean chicken skewers, with live music on weekends. After apple picking, check out the hop yard and beer garden. penningsfarmmarket.com; 845.986.1059



9. Soons Orchards, New Hampton (Orange)

There’s not a bouncy house in sight. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun here. As owner Sharon Soons puts it, “It’s all about eating and drinking” at this family farm, reinvented for today with a tasting room presided over by a CIA chef serving homemade hummus and peach salsa. There’s a lively music scene here, too, on weekends. Oh, and the apples go above and beyond the usual mix! soonsorchards.com; 845.374.5471



10. Lawrence Farms Orchards, Newburgh (Orange)
Kiddos love the little storybook village and farm animals at this pretty farm with stellar views across the Hudson. And no one can resist the adorable Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff) puppies that are greeting visitors this fall. Plenty of apples, too! lawrencefarmsorchards.com; 845.562.4268



11. Hurds Family Farm, Modena (Ulster)
At this family-oriented farm, the kids will never be bored, darting from giant slides, pedal carts, fish feeding, bouncy air pillows, and train rides to nature trails, hayrides, and two corn mazes. Afterward, treat them to café specialties like homemade applesauce, apple-cheese quesadillas, and apple-slice sandwiches with peanut butter, cranberries, and local honey. And the apple-picking? Surprisingly quirky, with some interesting varieties. hurdsfamilyfarm.com; 845.883.7825



12. Jenkins-Lueken Orchards, New Paltz (Ulster)
An impressive assortment of apples await in the u-pick orchards, so grab a hay ride on the weekends and fill your basket. Make a pit stop at the new corn maze, and don’t forget to check out the market, where you can do one-stop dinner shopping for grass-fed beef, fish, sausages, cheeses, eggs, and cakes and pies. The orchard is also selling Yankee Folly Hard Cider from the mill down the road. jlorchards.com; 845.255.0999



13. Philip Orchards, Claverack (Columbia) 
Right around Labor Day, this bucolic, no-nonsense pick-your-own opens to the public. There are no hayrides: Just drive (or stroll) up to the trees and get busy. Pssst: This year, there’s a bumper crop of Honeycrisps, despite shortages elsewhere, so beeline here to get your fill. philiporchards.com; 518.851.6351



14. Samascott, Kinderhook (Columbia)

This is your go-to orchard for a nice array of hard-to-find apples, including the trending SnapDragon. Fresh-pressed cider and homemade ice cream at the garden market are even more reasons to head to this 1,000-acre farm, which also offers free-range Angus beef, pork, chicken, and eggs. samascott.com; 518.758.7224



15. Goold Orchards, Castleton (Rensselaer) 
Every Columbus Day weekend (October 8 and 9 this year), this 106-year-old pick-your-own hosts a two-day apple festival with marionette shows, food concessions, and craft vendors. Don't miss the event's wine tent for samples of fruit wines or to try their certified-kosher fresh cider.  goold.com; 518.732.7317



16. Indian Ladder Farms, Altamont (Albany)
Founded by Dutch cattle farmers and just celebrating its centennial, this forward-thinking establishment retired its development rights years ago, so it will be around forever.  After you pick a peck, have brunch in the café or head to the cidery and brewery for some homegrown beverages. indianladderfarms.com; 518.765.2956



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