You can buy mealy Red Delicious apples from the supermarket all winter. But fall in New England means apple-picking, and we’re ready to get our crispy #fallvibes on.
Even though the first day of autumn is Sept. 21, apple season has already begun at Ocean State farms. You’ll also find other seasonal treats at some of the farms here: pumpkins, peaches, cider, pies, donuts. To state the obvious: Mother Nature grows on her own time. So if you’re looking for specific apples — say Jonagold or Idared, call ahead to see what’s ripe for picking that day. For the uninitiated: A peck is about 10 pounds of apples, and a bushel is four pecks. Now let’s get them apples.
OLD STONE ORCHARD
At Old Stone Orchard in Little Compton, wander the rolling orchard on a hill where you can pick-your-own pears and apples — perhaps Galas or Gingergolds. Grab a pumpkin from the stand while you’re there. Apples $2.75 per pound. 33 Colebrook Road. 401-635-2663. Details here.
If you’re a true apple fiend with a love of cider, take a trip to Appleland Orchard. In this land of nectar, sure, you can pick your own apples, peaches and pumpkins — but it’s their homemade cinnamon-sugar-dusted apple cider donuts and fresh-pressed ciders that have made this spot Rhody famous. Plus, pies, breads, candy apples and chocolate-covered apples. PYO Apples: Peck/$28. 135 Smith Ave., Greenville. 401-949-3690. Details here.
SWEET BERRY FARM
Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown boasts a post-and-beam farm market, café, and pretty-as-a-postcard farm. (Put it this way: people get married there.) Pick-your-own apples — depending on ripeness, try Sansa, Ginger Golds, Mutsu Crispin, or Zestar — then try the pumpkin spice ice cream. Stop at the cafe to grab a sandwich, or bacon, cheese and vegetable quiche; or turkey, bean, cilantro and lime chili; or baked goods. Half-peck/$16; peck/$26; half-bushel/$45. 915 Mitchell’s Lane. 401-847-3912. Details, hours, rates, reservations here.
A family farm growing since the 1930s, Steere Orchard in Greenville grows a variety of pick-your-own apples, including Honeycrisp, Gala, Cortland, and Golden Delicious, plus hayrides on Sundays. Peck/$25; half-bushel/$45. 150 Austin Ave., Greenville. 401-949-1456. Details here.
Jaswell’s Farm in Smithfield is a sweet spot for those with a sweet tooth. Try a cider donut, candy apple, caramel apple, or “gourmet apple” — a Honeycrisp dipped in caramel, rolled in topping, drizzled with Belgian chocolate. Pick from Twix, mini M&Ms, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers pieces, crushed Oreos, pecans… Mmmmm… Oh! Right. And you can pick your own apples: Peck/$28; half-bushel/$48. 50 Swan Road. 401-231-9043. Details, hours, rates, reservations and more here.
Phantom Farms in Cumberland is currently open for Macintosh and Cortland pick-your-owns. Go for the apples — stay for the chocolate whoopie pies, chocolate candy pretzels, and truffles. Peck/$25; $40/half-bushel. 2920 Diamond Hill Road. 401-333-2240. Details here.
BARDEN FAMILY ORCHARD
Barden Family Orchard is all about the variety. Their apples sound like Kentucky Derby winners: Liberty, Golden Supreme, Rhode Island Greening, Northern Spy, Rome Beauty. They have an online chart of what’s ripe each week, and what they taste like at various points in the season. For example, Rhode Island Greenings are ripe now. Tart apples, they add great flavor to applesauce and pies. Honeycrisps are also ready— a sweet juicy apple, they’re great for eating fresh, or, when sliced thinly, for pies. Kids bag $10; 5-pound bag $15; peck/$30; half-bushel/$50. 56 Elmdale Road, North Scituate. 401-934-1413. Details here.
NARROW LANE ORCHARD
Narrow Lane Orchard in North Kingstown grows 20 varieties, according to their website, with a guide for what’s ripe. If you go soon, you might find Gala, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Cortland. Plus peaches are available at the counter. When you’ve stocked up, take a walk through their nature trail. Peck/$35; half bushel/$45. 213 Narrow Lane. 401-294-3584. Details here.
Pippin Orchard in Cranston offers pick-your-own apples, plus cider, apple cider donuts, muffins, pies, turnovers and, soon, candy apples. $28 per bag; bag holds 12-13 pounds. 751 Pippin Orchard Road, Cranston. 401-943-7096. Details here and here.
DAME FARM & ORCHARDS
Dame Farm & Orchards in Johnston might have Macintosh, Gala, Red Cortland and Honeycrisp this time of season. You can also pick-your-own flowers, buy a pumpkin and hop a hayride. ($8/person, 5 for $35, 3 and under free.) Half-peck/$15; peck/$28; half-bushel/$48. Closed Sundays. 91-B Brown Ave. 401-949-3657. Details here and here.
YOUNG FAMILY FARM
At Young Family Farm in Little Compton, you might fill a bag with Honeycrisp, Gala, or Crimson Crisp; pick-your-own pumpkins, then stop at the farm stand for cider donuts and popcorn. #FallVibes. Peck/$24, half-bushel/$45. 260 West Main Road, Little Compton. 401-635-0110. Details here.