11 Best Places for Apple Picking in Massachusetts

Looking for a fun fall activity to do with your family or a group of friends before pumpkin picking and Halloween? Why not go apple picking in Massachusetts! There are plenty of orchards throughout the state of Massachusetts that offer pick-your-own (PYO) apples.

From sweet to sour, Massachusetts is home to many apple varieties, and picking one for a fresh snack or a dessert is a great way to welcome the fall season. Most apple orchards also have fun fall activities like haywagon rides and also sell apple cider donuts and cider.

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U Pick apple orchard

With over 40 farms spread out through Massachusetts, there’s an orchard out there for everyone.

In this blog post, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about apple picking in Massachusetts. Below you’ll learn where the best orchards are, what types of apples you can find there, and how much it costs. So read on to learn more.

What ‘falls’ between fall colors and Halloween? Apple Picking in Massachusetts

Apple Picking MA season: Late August to early November. Check with each farm for their apple harvest times (which can vary year by year).

Apple Picking in Mass – the Bay State

Visiting an apple orchard, not only means a great apple variety, but also a fun atmosphere for the family, and of course killer apple cider donuts.

Massachusetts Apple Map

Map of apple orchards in Massachusetts

While fall is the season where the leaves are turning golden and setting you up for the beautiful New England fall colors, apple picking is a great addition to your list of day trip activities and weekend getaways.

Apple orchards not only offer the quintessential PYO Apple Picking activities, apple cider donuts, and fresh cider, but also a host of activities from kids-friendly hay wagon rides, and barnyard animal tours, to couples looking for a wedding venue or a romantic getaway and friends looking for a fall evening enjoying live music with a hard cider.

Here’s an interesting fact: Boston had the very first orchard in America and it was planted on Beacon Hill in 1623.

Our Favorite 11 Places to go Apple Picking in Mass

Apple Picking

Many Mass orchards are family owned and run for generations. If you are into gardening or agriculture, many of the farmers will share their practices for sustainable agriculture, incorporating integrated pest management techniques, and utilizing renewable power sources such as windmills and solar. So if you really want to deep dive into apple farming, there are those educational field trips as well.

Apple Orchards Near Boston

Good old-fashioned apple picking is available across Massachusetts and many are not far from Boston. You’ll find plenty of orchards to choose from; some with hayrides, farm stands, and so much more!

1. Tougas Family Farm

Apple Cider Donuts
Apple Cider Donuts

Tougas Family Farm is a 2nd generation fruit farm offering Pick-Your-Own (PYO) Strawberries, Cherries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Peaches, Nectarines, Apples, and Pumpkins. They grow over 30 varieties of apples and a great selection that you can’t find in the supermarket. The farm offers a variety of family activities including a barnyard, playground and farm kitchen.

  • Farm activities: Company group events, school field trips, a farm store and farm kitchen.
  • Apple varieties: quite frankly – unique, from around the world and a lot! From Mcintosh (Mac), Ambrosia, Shizuka, Honeygold, Macoun, Pinova and Crimson Topaz.
  • Cost: Check website for updated apple picking prices.
  • Distance from Boston: 1 hour
  • Tougas Family Farm Address: 234 Ball St, Northborough, MA 01532

2. Stowe Farm Orchard

Stowe Farm is set along a picturesque landscape, this is a 6th generation working family farm and orchard offering a variety of activities for kids, adults, and everyone. Besides the quintessential PYO, kids can interact with the farm animals, ride the cow train, hay wagon rides and for adults – hard cider and live country music, all while soaking in scenic views of horses out grazing.

  • Farm activities: Bad Apple Saloon, country store, a BBQ truck on the weekends. And not just Apple picking – they even offer pet boarding and training, sell Christmas trees and western decorations.
  • Apple varieties: Mcintosh, Macoun, Gala, Cortland, Candy Crisp and others. 
  • Cost: 1 Peck which is 10lbs. is $25.00 | 1 Bushel which is 25lbs. is $40.00
  • Distance from Boston: 1 hour +
  • Stowe Farm Orchard Address: 15 Stowe Road | Millbury, MA 01527

3. Brooksby Farm

Brooksby Farm

Brooksby Farm is a farm based out of Peabody, MA offering hayrides, fairytale trails and cut your own bouquet flowers and PYO fruits.

Beyond the apple orchard, come for their famous made-to-order caramel apple chips as well as homemade apple pie, apple cider donuts and cider.

They offer a wedding venue at their Smith Barn… and if you happen to be in there in snow season, they have X-country ski trails as well. 

Apple picking is daily (closed Mondays) from 9-4 through mid-October. The farm is open beyond that Tuesday-Sunday 9-5 through December 30th.

  • Farm activities: Farm store, a bakery with warm cider donuts where they collaborate with local bakers to offer – monkey bread, loaf breads and whoopie pies. Throw in pop-up events, field trips in the fall and campfire with smores in the mix and you have a well spent weekend.
  • Apple varieties: Macs, Cortland, Mutzu, Russets, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious
  • Cost: $10 per small bag & $18 for a large bag.
  • Distance from Boston: 30 minutes
  • Brooksby Farm Location: 54 Felton St. Peabody, MA. 01960.

4. Smolak Farm

Antique Pink Pearl apples
Antique Pink Pearl apples

Smolak Farm is a working farm that offers education and entertainment in North Andover, MA. Kids can enjoy hayrides, have birthday parties and visit the animals. This is a great venue for weddings as well with many highly rated testimonials on their website.

  • Farm activities: Wedding venue, restaurant, ice cream stand – try the apple cider caramel donut ice cream, bakery, Hop-on and Night Hayrides with smores.
  • Apple varieties: Their Antique Orchard features many varieties of unusual, antique apple varietals you won’t find at many other farms, including the popular Pink Pearl which has a pink flesh interior.
  • Cost: Check the website for 2022 prices
  •  Distance from Boston: less than 1 hour 
  • Smolak Farms Address: 315 South Bradford Street North Andover, MA 01845

5. Russell Orchard

Russell Orchards

Russell Orchard offers award-winning fruit wines and ciders. The orchard is located next to Ipswich Bay. Easily commutable via public transportation; take the commuter train to Ipswich and then the Ipswich-Essex Explorer shuttle to the orchard.

  • Farm activities: Farm store, Bakery, Ice cream shop, Winery, School Tours and Barnyard animals.
  • Apple varieties: They have 31 varieties of apples including Baldwin, CandyCrisp, Cortland to Sweet Sixteen, Vista Belle, Zestar and everything in between!
  • Cost: Entry to the picking area is $5 per person (toddlers and above). This fee is treated like a non-refundable deposit when entering the orchard for picking. This fee is credited back to you when you exit and pay for the fruit you picked. Each pick-your-own fruit is priced by the pound.
  •  Distance from Boston: less than 1 hour 
  • Russell Orchard Address: 143 Argilla Rd. Ipswich, MA

6. Honey Pot Hill Orchard

Honey Pot Hill Orchard cider

Honey Pot Hill Orchard started back in 1926, this is a family-run orchard for 4 generations. Offering fresh produce and a host of activities and great varieties of apples, this is a highly reviewed (Yelp, Google Maps and TripAdvisor) and reputable large-scale orchard. 

In addition to apple picking, many weekends include a hard cider tent, apple cider donuts, hayrides, mazes, and farm animals.

Don’t forget to pick up some of the freshly pressed apple cider. Come early, because it sells out!

  • Farm activities: Farm store, Mazes, Field outings, Farm animals, Hayrides.
  • Apple varieties: Ginger Golds, Gravensteins, Sana, Akane, McIntosh, Gala, Macoun, Cortland, Empire, Golden Supreme, and Honeycrisp.
  • Cost: Check the website for 2022 prices
  •  Distance from Boston: less than 1 hour 
  • Honey Pot Hill Orchard Address: 138 Sudbury Road, Stow MA 01775

7. Parlee Farms

Parlee Farms was named by the editors of Yankee Magazine as The Best PYO Fruit Farm in Massachusetts and their Apple Cider Donuts were voted the BEST CIDER DONUT by the viewers of NECN!

Don’t forget to order a warm apple crisp at Mary’s Country Kitchen before you leave the farm. Also, leave time to visit Annie’s Animal Barns to feed the friendly farm animals.

The Lowell MA apple orchard covers over 19 acres. It is comprised of dwarf apple trees which, although small in stature, produce large, delicious apples.

  • Farm activities: Farm stand offering fresh fruits and local honey from their own farm, Bakery, Country Kitchen, picnic areas, roasted corn, farm animals with bunnies, goats, chickens and many more.
  • Apple varieties: 20 varieties of apples including Honey Crisp, MacIntosh, Gala, Early Fuji, Macoun, Cortland, Royal Empire, Decoster Jonagold, Cameo, and Golden Delicious.
  • Cost: Check the website for 2022 prices
  • Distance from Boston: less than 1 hour 
  • Parlee Farms Address: 95 Farwell Road Tyngsboro MA, 01879

Central Mass Apple Orchards & Apple Picking

8. Hyland Orchard and Events

Hyland Orchard is a family-run farm that has a nice setup for group gatherings, picnic areas, live bands. It’s a great option for a group of friends and private events. The Orchard Season will begin September 17, 2022 and will be open every Saturday & Sunday .

  • Apple varieties: Mac, Macoun, Cortland, Mutsu, Gala, Granny Smith, Empire, Fuji, and Braeburn
  • Cost: Check the website for 2022 prices
  • Distance from Boston: 1.5 hours
  • Hyland Orchard Address: The farm is situated two miles up from Route 20. Located near the crossroads of the Massachusetts Turnpike and Rte. 84 in Sturbridge, Hyland Orchard is located just west of Old Sturbridge Village.

9. Berlin Orchards

Berlin Orchard is run by the Beirnes. this is an orchard that has invested in Apple farming and increasing the density of Apple trees in an acreage (think sustainable agriculture). Set on the hillside with beautiful views, this is a fun orchard to go with kids. 

  • Farm activities: Hay wagon ride, playhouses for the kids, feed goats, chickens and donkeys. Country store and also ice cream at a farm across the road.
  • Apple varieties: Ginger Gold, Paula Red, Macs, Gala, Cortland, Honey Crisp, Golden Supreme, Jonagold, Macoun, Mutsu and Red Delicious
  • Cost: 1/2 bushel (about 20lbs) for $35.00 and 1 peck (about 10lbs) for $25.00. The hay wagon ride that takes you and your family into and out of the orchard is part of the cost of the bag.
  • Distance from Boston: 1.5 hours
  • Address: Berlin Orchards is located off of 495 on Rte. 62 in Berlin, Massachusetts.

Berkshires/Western Mass Apple Orchards & Apple Picking

Apple basket

10. Hilltop Orchards in the Berkshires

Hilltop Orchards in the Berkshires is more than 100 years old. It is a great day-cation spot offering apple picking, apple cider sipping, and wine tasting with beautiful views of the Berkshires. They operate on the principles of sustainable agriculture and produce artisanal cider and wines. JMASH is one of their artisanal ciders.

The on-site cidery is one of the oldest continually operating cideries in New England. Check their site for apple picking reservations.

  • Farm activities: a retail store offering their ciders, wines, and of course freshly made cider doughnuts. They also offer cidery tours and cider tastings.
  • Apple varieties: They grow 27 different varieties of apples, including heritage and heirloom apples.
  •  Distance from Boston: 2 hours 
  • Address: 508 Canaan Rd, Richmond, MA 01254
  • Directions to Hilltop Orchards from Boston (about 2 hours) • Take Mass Pike I-90 West to Exit 1/Rt-41 West Stockbridge • Continue on Rt-41 North • Go left on Rt-295 / Canaan Rd, Hilltop Orchards is about 1 mile down on the right

Yonder.. near New Hampshire

11. Cider Hill Farm

Cider Hill Farm

Cider Hill Farm is an award-winning apple farm run by 3 generations of the Cook family. In 2021 they were named #1 Apple Picking Spot in the U.S. Come for Apple Picking, Leaf Peeping & Sipping Cider!

Just near the border of New Hampshire, this farm utilizes modern strategies to farming – think windmills and solar. Strictly non-GMO. This is an awesome orchard to bring kids with a trike yard, giant sandbox, corn walks, horse swings and of course PYO fruits. For adults, they have hard cider cellars and tastings, fruit pickings, pop-up food trucks, live bands, group events, and even Yoga!

Pick your own apples is open daily from 8 am – 5:30 pm during apple season.

  • Farm activities: Farm market, tractor rides, Hard Cidery, A restaurant – the Pitch Fork, Cider Donuts, and much more. Weekends with Music, Food Truck & Outdoor Cider Bar and Corn Hole and much more!
  • Apple varieties: McIntosh, Cortland, Kidd’s Gala, RubyMac, LindaMac, Buckeye Gala, Mutsus available for PYO plus more varieties available pre-picked in the farm store.
  •  Distance from Boston: 1 hour + 
  • Cider Hill Farm Address: 45 Fern Avenue Amesbury, MA 01913

Different Varieties of Apple Common to Mass

Honey Crisp apples

Sweet Apples Include:

Baldwin: thick, juicy, coarse and spicy character, best apples for cider and pies.

Where to find this variety: Russell Orchard, Red Apple Farm, Smolak Farms and Rugged hill orchard

Northern Spy: commonly used for desert, pies, juice and cider. Known for its winter-hardiness.

Where to find this variety: Brookfield Orchards, Tougas Family Farms, Meadowbrook Orchards, Sholan Farms

Macoun: extra sweet and juicy, a variety of Mcintosh, great for eating and sauces.

Where to find this variety: Tougas Family Farms, Meadowbrook Orchards, Brookfield Orchards

Honey Crisp: large, sweet, juicy and a crisp apple variety. A cross between Macoun and Honeygold. Great for eating and baking.

Where to find this variety: Rogers Orchards Shuttle Meadow, Berlin Orchards, Tougas Family Farms

Red delicious: medium-sized, conical shape, red and sweet. The most famous of America’s apples.

Where to find this variety: pretty much any and every orchard. 

Mcintosh apples

Tart and Tangy Apples Include:

Cortland: sweet with a hint of tartness, great for salads.

Where to find this variety: Stowe Farm Orchard, Charlton Orchard, Tougas Family Farm, Berlin Orchards

Mcintosh (or Mac):  spicy, highly aromatic and full of juice… pairs well with sharp cheese.

Where to find this variety: pretty much everywhere in the Northeast!

‘Wolf River’ variety: for the adventurous – try a bigger apple you’ve probably never had before, you’ll want to try this one – intriguing and huge… and of an interesting origin.

Where to find this variety: Ragged Hill Orchard and West Brookfield

5 Fun Facts about Apples

When you plan your apple picking in Massachusetts excursion, you can impress your family and friends with these fun facts about apples!

  • Apple trees take 4 to 5 years to produce their first fruit.
  • Apples will ripen 6 to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they were refrigerated.
  • Around 36 apples create one gallon of apple cider.
  • There are more than 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States, and they come in all shades of red, green and yellow.
  • The science of apple growing is called pomology.

And that’s all for now

Phew… I bet you weren’t expecting us to go so apples! So when the fall season comes around and you happen to be in Mass or need a getaway from the big apple, you know an orchard is just around the corner when you visit Massachusetts!

After your day of apply picking, why not do a ghost tour to Explore Haunted Massachusetts!

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