If you’ve cruised New York’s greenmarkets, you know our area is blessed with bountiful orchards. But why just stuff apples in a plastic bag? Farms across the Tri-State let you pick your own produce, and many sweeten the deal with hayrides, corn mazes and petting zoos. Here are some favorites, all within three hours of New York City.
Dr. Davies’ Farm, Congers, N.Y.
About 33 miles from NYC; 306 Rt. 304, Congers NY (845) 268-7020; drdaviesfarm.com
In 1891, newlyweds Arthur Davies and Dr. Lucy Meriweather bought a farm in Congers. With their descendants in charge today, Dr. Davies Farm is a genteel, relaxing place to pick apples, bump along on a hayride, navigate a corn maze or frolic in a pumpkin patch. For $ 37, you get a 25-pound bag of seasonal apples like Cortland, Empire and Red Delicious. Homemade apple cider and donuts await for hungry apple-pickers. Or, fuel up on Peking duck quesadillas at the Station Kitchen & Bar, (thestationkitchenandbar.com), just two miles south.
At Love Apple Farm in Ghent, NY, you can check out the petting zoo after a day of fruit-picking.
(Love Apple Farm)
Love Apple Farm, Ghent, N.Y.
About 125 miles from NYC; 1421 State Route 9H, Ghent, NY (518) 828-5048; loveapplefarm.com
For 99 cents a pound, you’ll find dazzling varietals from Braeburn to Zestar at this 80-acre orchard. But you’ll also have your pick of activities, from a placid petting zoo to a cafe even locals love. Try the smoked turkey-gruyére panini. You can also nourish your soul at the property’s art gallery, a first among local orchards. Catch its current show, the well-reviewed Art Work: An Exploration of Labor, through Oct. 1. Still peckish? Bartlett House (bartletthouse.com), in a historic mansion six miles east, prepares luscious sandwiches and salads with Hudson Valley provisions.
Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, Yorktown Heights, NY, offers apples and a winery.
(Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm)
Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
About 47 miles from NYC; 13 35 Whitehill Rd., Yorktown Heights, NY; (914) 245-5111; wilkensfarm.com
There’s a grown-up bonus if your apple adventures include this century-old farm: Wilkens Farm launched a winery last year, repurposing an old apple-cider-bottling operation. Before you partake in fruits of the vine, make sure to pick from this 180-acre farm’s more than 20 varieties, including juicy Baldwin, Jonamac and Macouns. Leave time for the bakery, farmstand and craft market. Little scarecrows make terrific gifts. Nearby, Peter Pratt’s Inn (prattsinn.com) is worth a special trip, with locally sourced dishes like pan-seared duck breast with carrot puree served in a circa-1780 barn.
Wightman Farms in Morristown, NJ, is one of only a few Garden State orchards.
Wightman Farms, Morristown, N.J.
About 33 miles from NYC; 1111 Mt. Kemble Ave., Morristown, NJ; (973) 425-9819; wightmanfarms.com
Back in the day, the Wightmans sold farm fruit from a single outdoor table. Now, fruit-lovers flock to this 145-acre farmfor one of the region’s lushest pick-your-own spots — and one of the few in the Garden State. Trees here line the slopes behind the farm’s well-stocked store, where ovens crank out pies, cookies and donuts all day. After filling bags with your favorite fruit, peel off to downtown Morristown. Revolutionary War landmarks, including where George Washington hunkered down between battles in 1777, dot the area. There’s also a modern marvel — an uncrowded Century 21 (c21stores.com), where shoppers battle over discounted designer duds.
Hank’s Pumpkintown in Water Mill, NY, is famous for delicious apples and a friendly vibe.
Hank’s Pumpkintown, Water Mill, N.Y.
About 94 miles from NYC; 240 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY; (631) 726-4667; hankspumpkintown.com
There’s more to Montauk than the snooty Hamptons. Hank’s is one of the region’s friendliest farms, with delicious crops like Honeycrisp, Daybreak Fuji and Snow Sweet apples ripe for the picking. A peck — that’s 10 pounds — will run you $ 25, but a visit here includes much more than fruit. A huge maze park, with labyrinths cut into greenery, could take a day on its own. And there’s calf milking, pig races and a huge wooden train keep the kids and grown-ups enchanted. If you still need a taste of fancy Hamptons, hop over to white-walled Manna (mannahamptons.com) for a refined — but pricey — seafood-heavy menu. The trio of crudo’s a winner.
Lyman Orchards, Middlefield, Conn.
About 100 miles from NYC; 105 South St., Middlefield, Conn.; (860) 349-6015; lymanorchards.com
Some putts with those Pink Ladys? Lyman’s, which has been around since 1741, might be the Tri-State’s poshest apple-picking venue. Along with its lush pick-your-own orchards, the orchard operates three top-notch golf courses and the Apple Barrel, a market beloved by locals for killer house-baked pies, desserts and donuts. Apple-wise the operation is just as polished, with smart staffers, plentiful Pick-Your-Own stations and even recipe sheets for the fruits of your labor. Swap apple-picking tales over refined Italian fare at Luce (lucect.com), where homemade meat cannelloni are a favorite.