Fall is my favorite season in New England. The multicolored leaves, rich flavors, and perfect weather (I love mild temperatures and clouds) make me look forward to these months every year.
Last weekend I kicked off autumn with an apple picking trip up to Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro, MA. It was my first time there and, as Sunday was a gorgeous day to be outside, everyone in the state must have had the same idea.
The complex – fruit picking, country store, hay maze, pumpkins, and goats (!!) – are open at 10am Tuesday-Sunday. We arrived at 9:30 to find the entrance closed off, so we parked on the side of the road with four other cars to wait. By 10am there were 40 or 50 cars parked along the street (in a residential area, I felt terrible for everyone living in those houses). We drove in as the entrance opened and stood in line to purchase our apple picking bag.
There are two bag options at the farm. The first is a $20 bag, which holds ten pounds of apples, and the second is a larger $28 bag. Once you purchase a bag, board the hay ride to the apples and begin picking! The staff were very friendly and we arrived the morning a new section of the orchard opened, so we had first pick of Honey Crisp, Cortland, and Fuji apples.
Once we were finished picking, we boarded the hay ride again and returned to the country store. By then it was so packed that it looked like Disney (okay, I haven’t been in a while, but look at those cars!). We bought two bags of five freshly-made little doughnuts, and half-gallon of apple cider, and found a free picnic table.
My family had goats growing up, so I was very excited to see goats at Parlee Farms. I unfortunately couldn’t jump right into the pen, but I bought a little handful of feed so I could pet them. I may have been the only adult involved in this activity…but look how cute they are!
Apple picking at Parlee Farms was a different experience from what I’ve done in Upstate New York, but they have a good system considering how busy it gets (paying for the bag in advance, traveling by tractor-pulled hay ride to the orchard). If you decide to go, just remember: arrive early and don’t forget to try the doughnuts!