Apple Picking in Boston


New England's climate makes it the perfect environment for growing apples. Cool crisp autumn days are the perfect time to enjoy a fall harvest. While there are no orchards in the city of Boston, those looking to enjoy fresh fruit picked from the tree, will find numerous choices all within a short drive. The variety of apples that grow in the area is huge, but some of the more popular varieties include Baldwin, Cortland, Macintosh, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Pippin, Rome and Red Delicious.


The apple fruit grows from the bloom of the tree's flower in spring and matures through the summer. Most orchard and backyard trees will experience a summer "drop" of small amount of fruit and fall winds and rain may cause a "windfall" in September, but the majority of ripe apples will remain on a tree for harvest in the fall. In the Boston area, October is the best month for apple picking.


Fruit still on a tree can be tested for ripeness by turning the apple in a twisting motion from side-to-side while holding the apple in the palm of your hand from underneath. A ripe apple will break away from the spur and can be easily plucked with a slight tug. Avoid over-ripe fruit that detaches too easily. Your best bet is slight under-ripe fruit with a greenish-yellow underside.


Before heading to an orchard, call ahead to make sure they will provide you with a ladder. If not, a six-foot, self-supporting ladder will help you reach the best fruit. Ripe fruit is easily picked, but a pair of gardening clippers can make the job easier. The common way to carry and measure apples is in pails, but the intrepid apple picker will wear a shoulder sling, which is a large sack worn over the shoulder like a newspaper bag.


The Purdue University Cooperative Extension recommends storing apples at 30 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit with 90% humidity, as well as some air circulation. Apples will freeze around 28 degrees Fahrenheit, so be sure to monitor temperatures. The fruit does not die when picked. It remains a living organism that must use its own food to survive. Cold storage slows down this process and extends shelf life for up to two months. Store small amounts in plastic bags with holes for air circulation. Large amounts can be stored in crates. When storing in a refrigerator, remember to leave space for air circulation.

Boston Area Locations

Brooksby Farm 38 Felton Street, Peabody, Massachusetts 01960 978-531-7456 Cider Hill Farm‎ 45 Fern Avenue Amesbury, MA 01913 978-388-5525‎ Connors Farm Inc‎ 30 Valley Road Danvers, MA 01923 978-777-1245‎ Belkin Family Lookout Farm 89 Pleasant Street South Natick 508-651-1539

Keywords: Essex County apples, New England apples, Boston area apples

About this Author

Tom Nari teaches screenwriting and journalism in Southern California. With a degree in creative writing from Loyola University, Nari has worked as a consultant to the motion picture industry as well as several non-profit organizations dedicated to the betterment of children through aquatics. Nari has written extensively for GolfLink, Trails and eHow.