If you’ve never tasted an apple plucked directly from the branch, then you’re missing out on one of the unique pleasures of living in New England. There is simply no comparison to a store-bought apple. That perfect crisp crunch and bright, sweet juice are only found during fall while strolling through bucolic orchards or perusing the shelves of the farmstand. There are many pick-your-own orchards in New Hampshire, but here’s a quick roundup of some of our favorites.
57 Alyson’s Ln., Walpole, NH
Alyson’s grows everything from berries and peaches to plums and nectarines, but this 450-acre orchard (with 50 acres of fruit-bearing trees) is best known for its apples. Choose from more than 50 types of apples, including many heirloom varieties. When you’ve had your fill of apple picking, let the kids visit with the goats, play a game of bocce or just enjoy the beauty of this gorgeous orchard.
133 Exeter Rd., Hampton Falls, NH
This fourth-generation farm also grows a number of different fruits, pumpkins and gourds, but there’s a reason apples are its namesake — they have 220 acres of orchards growing more than 40 varieties. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., they offer pick-your-own fruit and cut-your-own flowers, bluegrass music, horse-drawn hayrides and more.
128 Glidden Rd., Gilford, NH
Enjoy an old-fashioned hay wagon ride into the orchard where more than a dozen apple varieties are available. Definitely don’t miss the lovely farmstand with its delicious cider donuts and fresh-pressed cider.
230 Mammoth Rd., Londonderry, NH
Mack’s Apples has an impressive history — this eighth-generation, family-run farm has about 400 acres with 100 of those dedicated to apples. In fact, the Mack family has continuously farmed the land since 1732. There are also lovely walking trails and both ice cream and farmstands. At the farmstand, you’ll find fresh vegetables, honey, pumpkins, squash, local maple syrup and many other items.
98 Poverty Ln., Lebanon, NH
Specializing in heirloom varieties plus your familiar favorites, Poverty Lane also grows cider apples for the related Farnum Hill Ciders. These hard ciders are available in other stores, but nothing beats picking your own apples followed by a growler fill for the adults. The farm store also sells regular cider and other products. There are free weekend wagon rides (weather permitting and with new safety precautions in place), picnic tables and plenty of room for kids to play.
41 Broad St., Hollis, NH
Established in 1847, Brookdale offers nearly every kind of fruit and vegetable, including 19 varieties of apples. Make sure you take the time to visit the large Best of NH award-winning farm store that sells the farm’s honey and produce, plus specialty foods, baked goods, local items and much more.
184 Leavitt Rd., Belmont, NH
Started by Rob and Wende Richter in 1985, Smith offers an array of apple picking choices like Ginger Gold, Macintosh and MacGown. Their 80-year-old trees may not be as red as the new varieties on the market today, but what they lack in looks, they make up for in taste.
65 Broad St., Hollis, NH
Owned and operated by David Orde, Lull Farm in Hollis and Milford offers fresh local produce, dairy, eggs, artisanal cheeses and bakery specialties along with their PYO apples. Don’t miss out on trying their homemade cider too!
20 Orchard Way, Lee, NH
DeMeritt has everything from vegetables and Christmas trees to blueberries and pumpkins, but this orchard might be most famous for its apples. Choose from standard classics and antiques to the latest varieties like the Hampshire Mac. They also have a bakery, several miles of trails and farm animals for you to check out. If you visit in October, don’t forget to check out one of the most creative and unique haunted attractions in the world, Haunted Overload.