Biting into a fresh apple from a you-pick orchard is more than a possibility in the state of Maine. Maine's climate, consisting of warm summer days, cool nights and a robust winter, make the state ideal for growing apples. Just as summer fun ends, apple picking starts, beginning in late August and continuing until the end of October. Consider combining a trip to see the changing autumn colors with an apple picking adventure for the ultimate in fun.
Dozens of orchards offer you-pick apple harvests in Maine. While apple orchards dot the state, the majority of the you-pick orchards are in York, Androscoggin and Cumberland counties.
A wide variety of apples grow in Maine, including popular types such as red and yellow delicious, McIntosh and Jonathon. Newer apples such as winter banana also grow in the area, while older varieties such as Wolf River and Cortland thrive in Maine's climate. Most orchards let apple pickers sample different types of apples to find their favorites.
What to Bring
Most orchards require apple pickers to bring their own containers, although a few do provide bags or buckets. If the apple picking adventure includes children, include plenty of snacks and lunch packed in a cooler. Keep hydrated with plenty of bottled water, and prevent sunburn by bringing hats and sunscreen. Make the experience more enjoyable for kids by bringing their favorite wagon or pail for carrying a few harvested apples. Carry a camera for capturing and remembering the apple picking event for years to come.
An orchard owner usually tells apple pickers where to find the ripest fruit on any given day, but it's helpful to know that the ripest apples appear on the outer branches. Look for apples without any blemishes. To remove apples from the trees, grasp the apple in the palm of the hand and give it a quick twist with the wrist. Ripe apples come off the tree with the stem intact. The fruit needs to be carefully placed in a container to avoid bruising.
Several orchards offer special apple-related activities and events. Apple Ridge Farms in Auburn offers hayrides and farm animals for kids to enjoy. Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram hosts a Blue Grass Festival and a children's concert in September. Clark's Cove Farm and Inn in Walpole offers perennial gardens, eight hiking trails on 24 acres of woods and fresh water frontage for picnics while enjoying apple picking.