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Dutchess Farms for Apple & Pumpkin Picking!

Autumn has arrived, so get your taste buds ready for maple flavored bacon, pumpkin lattes, apple pie, and butternut squash soup. Farms are the perfect one-day getaway destination with family or friends. Grab a jacket and head outside in the crisp fall air. Make apple and pumpkin picking a tradition with friends and family. Snap some pictures, eat healthy (fruits and veggies), and maybe not so healthy (fruit pies and cider donuts, apple butter and jelly), all the while enjoying the scenic country views and enjoying nature with friends and family. Therre are still plenty ogf apples left! The New York State fruit is the mighty apple, after all! What's your favorite New York apple?

Dutchess County is fortunate to have many farms and orchards at which to pick or buy delicious apples, berries, peaches, nectarines, vegetables, gourds, and pumpkins, or stock up at the farm stand! They welcome groups; some host Fall Festivals, where you can enjoy anything from pony rides and hay rides to live music, barbecue and hearty food. Let their family festivals become traditions in your family right along with football tailgating, jumping in the leaves and making Halloween costumes!

Apple picking gives everyone a fun, memorable time, and it’s crucial for delicious homemade pies! Just imagine that warm apple pie or Brown Betty that you baked yourself with fresh, ripe apples. What’s better than knowing you picked them yourself? The farms are baking homemade goods daily, so if you’re not known for your baking skills, pick up treats such as real cider donuts. Buy fall produce and make some hearty stew instead!

Take your loved ones on a fall getaway to a Dutchess Farm! Visit them for a fun fall day and come home with fresh farm fruit and produce. Pick or choose apples, pumpkins and gourds at:

Celebrate your fall weekends at Barton Orchards, a working family farm. Check the website for October themed weekends. Pick your own fruit – apples in September, and pumpkins now - and watch as the family enjoys the Petting Zoo, Corn Maze, Haunted House Rotten Core Manor, Midway to shop, eat and play, and Fun Park, with its bounce houses, labyrinth, Go-karts, slides and more. Enjoy a delicious bite to eat in Granny Smith’s Kitchen or the Farm Market & Fudge Kitchen. Hear live music on multiple stages. Sip a craft beer or cider in their Backyard Tap Room. There’s endless fun at their many attractions and games; a Fun Pass Wrist Band gains access to nearly everything for $15. Mon.- Fri. no admission fee; Sat.-Sun. $5. 9am-5pm, 7 days. County Rte. 7 off Beekman Rd., or 63 Apple Tree Ln., Poughquag. 845-227-2306. 

  • Cedar Heights Orchard has been family owned for more than 150 years. Pick your own heirloom apples with the beautiful Catskills as a backdrop. The orchard grows Galas, Cortlands, Jonamacs, Empires, Macouns and Red Delicious. New varieties include Liberty and Gold Rush. Read about their cider operation here. 9am-5pm, 7 days. 8 Crosby Lane, Rhinebeck. 845-876-3231.
  • Dykeman’s Farm invites you to choose your Halloween pumpkins gourds, and decorative fall items at this third generation family farm! There are plenty of vegetables, photo spots and a kids’ play area. Hayrides (free) on October weekends only. Farm stand with fresh corn is open 7 days, 10am-5pm. Feed the ducks and enjoy the farm! 845-832-6068. West Dover Rd., Pawling. Road closed from the south but follow signs to farm; use Rt.e 22 to Old Pawling Rd., Wheeler Rd. or Pleasant Ridge Rd.
  • Fishkill Farms; 40 acres of apples, fruits, vegetables and pasture-raised eggs. Check out harvest festival fun on weekends thru Oct. 29th with live music, wagon rides, corn maze, fresh donuts, fresh & hard cider and apple picking (Eco-Certified Gala, Fuji, Cortland, Macoun, McIntosh, Jonamac, Jonagold, & Spartan apples). Buy fresh fruits and veggies right from the farm, artisanal cheeses, local meats, honey and maple syrup, and a full stock of NYS produced cider, wine, beer and liquor. The back porch has stunning views of the fields and mountains; picnic during store hours. Festivals Sat.-Sun. 9am-5pm, $5/person, kids 12 & under free. Farm market 7 days 9am – 6pm. Fishkill Farm Road, Hopewell Junction. 845-897-4377.
  • Hahn Farm. Enjoy hay rides, hay maze & fort, corn mazes, and rides on Patches the pony. Then head for the pumpkin patch! Refreshments on weekends: hamburgers, hot dogs, chili, cider donuts, plus fresh apple cider. This farm has been in the family since 1798. They’ve tilled its soil and been stewards of the land for centuries. The 7th & 8th generations continue to do so. Fall Festival on weekends, 11am-5pm; charge for activities. Farm Market with apples & other fruits & veggies. Open daily 9:30am-6pm. 1697 Salt Point Turnpike, Salt Point, 12578. 845-266-3680.
  • Hardeman Orchards is a family owned & operated farm stand & orchard, featuring pick your own apples & pumpkins, homemade apple cider donuts, & much more! 194 W Market St., Red Hook, 12571. (845) 656-8538         
  • Rose Hill Farm has been in the same family for 200 years (since 1798). You can pick apples along with pumpkins. The website has a chart listing apple varieties and their picking schedule, starting with Gala, Jonamac, Mac, Cortland, and Honeycrisp. You can also pick raspberries until October. Fall hours: Fri., 2-6 pm; Sat.-Sun., 10 am-6 pm. 845-758-4215. 19 Rose Hill Farm, Red Hook.
  • Greig Farm offers picking of pumpkins; had Jonamac, MacIntosh, Gala and Honey Crisp apples. Besides delicious berries and pumpkins, feed the pygmy goats behind the barn., and the koi fish in the pond behind Grandiflora Nursery at 144 Pitcher Ln. Market on Pitcher Ln. 9am-5pm, 7 days. 845-758-1234. 227 Pitcher Ln., Red Hook.
  • McEnroe Organic Farm Market carries farm grown meats and fresh picked produce, a wide selection of organic and specialty groceries, prepared foods, and fresh baked goods. With 1000 acres, McEnroe produces fruits, vegetables, poultry, and raises beef, lamb, pork, and plants. The McEnroe Market Kitchen serves sandwiches, soups, roasts, prepared dinners, baked goods, and vegetarian dishes. Try their daily lunch specials! They offer educational tours, a Discovery Garden and composting tips. 9am-6pm Sat. – Thurs., and 9am-6pm Fridays. Route 22, Millerton. 518-789-4191.
  • Meadowbrook Farm, a three-generation family farm and market, bakes fluffy apple cider donuts on premises every day! Let their fresh pressed apple cider quench your thirst. Choose from many varieties of .pick-your-own apples. Products include cider, sweet corn, tomatoes, salsa, homemade pies and baked goods, eggs, honey, maple syrup, jams and jellies. Open daily. Pick your own on weekends only. 29 Old Myers Corners Road, Wappinger Falls. 845-297-3002.
  • Mead Orchards, a picturesque, 180-acre fruit orchard and vegetable farm since 1916, grows 40 varieties of apples, winter squashes, pumpkins, and gourds! Stock up on pre-picked seasonal fruit, veggies, and more. Call if you’re looking for specific varieties of apples! Also make hard cider. Open 10am-6pm weekends. 845-756-5641. 15 Scism Rd., Tivoli.

Farm Markets Where They’ve Already Picked For You!

  • Montgomery Place Orchards, in its 31st year under Doug and Talea Taylor, who follow tenants dating back to the 1700s. MPO offers a wide range of already picked fruits and vegetables, with sixty varieties of apples, many of them antique/heirloom. Try jams and vinegars from their fruit. Tues.-Sun., 9am-6pm. Located 3miles north of Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, 4330 Rte. 9G, Red Hook (cor. of Rte. 199 & 9G). 845-758-5476.
  • Adams Fairacre Farms. If you don’t have time to pick your own, purchase some on your way home! The abundance, the amazing variety and the enormous scope of offerings are unparalleled in the area. Shop a huge selection of locally produced foods—cheeses, baked goods, dairy products, meats, produce and chocolates. They started as a family farm stand in 1919 and now have four stores. 845-454-4330.
  • Celebrate fall at the Adams Annual Harvest Fest. There’s lots of free fun for the kids—pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting and more!
  • In Poughkeepsie, Route 44/Dutchess Turnpike: Saturday, Octobe14th, 11am – 4pm
  • In Wappingers Falls, Route 9: Sunday, October 15th, 11am – 4pm
  • Also Kingston (Ulster) 10/9 and Newburgh (Orange) 10/7

New York State grows more apple varieties than any other state. With nearly 700 growers and 10,000,000+ trees, we produce enough apples each year to bake 500 million apple pies!

With New York apples, you have more great choices for eating and snacking, baking and cooking, sauces and desserts, and other great ideas. Click here to learn more, including a flavor and texture profile, best uses, special hints, and times of the year when you can purchase each apple. Varieties run from Acey Mac to Zestar! Some are sweet, others are tart, many are crisp and juicy – find out which ones make great pies, or baked apples (they hold their shape), which antique apple dates from Thomas Jefferson and 1793, which popular apple is not far behind, dating from 1811. And find out What does your favorite apple say about you? 

So when you're out looking for the best pumpkin, here are seven tips to keep in mind, according to Stephen Reiners, professor or horticulture at Cornell University:

  • A hard sturdy stem. A soft or loose stem might be a clue the pumpkin is prone to rotting. A green stem means it’s been freshly picked. Tan or brown stems mean it was harvested at least a few days ago.
  • Avoid the soft spots; they’re a bad sign. This could show excess moisture or insects have gotten into it and caused rot or mold.
  • Check for an uneven pumpkin. Before carving this year’s jack-o-lantern, place it on a flat surface to see if it rolls. Those with a flat bottom stand upright and stay in place when you display them.
  • Patience with the carving. Don’t rush to carve your pumpkin yet, as it starts to rot a week after it’s carved. Buy a pumpkin now and leave it whole for a few weeks, and it may look all right through Thanksgiving.
  • Ripe is a matter of opinion. It’s OK to pick a pumpkin that’s not totally ripe, as they continue to ripen and get more orange. Choosing a lighter colored pumpkin now may result in a perfect deep orange one by Halloween.
  • Go small when baking. Pumpkins for carving are different from those for baking. Larger pumpkins are too stringy and can taste bitter. Smaller pumpkins, or pie pumpkins, weighing 4-6 pounds, are grown for cooking & baking. They have a better texture, and taste better.
  • Bumpy is fine; people overlook pumpkins with hardened bumps and bruises. The bumps don’t affect the pumpkin and can add a unique spooky effect to your Halloween decor.

-N. Vaughan, USA Today




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