Apple picking 101: Your guide for a favorite fall activity in NY, NJ

Local News

CONGERS, N.Y. — Apple farmers at Dr. Davies Farm in Congers take the whole year preparing for two months.

“We spend every day pruning, maintaining, cleaning, fertilizing, and caring for our apple trees to produce the crop that we have,” Jimmy Higgins, the farm manager, said.

He said apples begin to ripen from the beginning of September all the way through the end of October — and that the best time to go is right now.

From late September until about Halloween is when he said most varieties of apples grown on the property are ripe. They’re the sweetest now too.

“You want to go for the brightest color apple when you’re picking apples,” Higgins said. “That means it’s most ripe.”

When it comes to technique, he says you want to grab it, twist, and pull.

“That helps not damage the tree and get you an unbruised perfect apple,” Higgins added.

You can also use a fruit stick to help you out.

In addition to apples, apple cider and fresh cider donuts made on site.

If you’re looking for pumpkins though, you better act quick.

Chris Davies Nevin, co-owner of the farm, said there’s a shortage because of the recent weather.

“Increasing amounts of rain have caused the pumpkins to soak up that rain and some of them are rotting on the vine, the way the pumpkins lay on the fields,” Davies said.

And bins used to transport the pumpkins? Well, there’s a shortage of those too. They say because of the pandemic, there’s a backlog overseas.

If you do plan on going to Dr. Davies Farm, keep in mind that reservations are recommended but not needed. Other apple farms, though, may require them, so it’s something to keep in mind this fall.

Below, in no particular order, we’ve rounded up five of the top apple farms and orchards in the tri-state area.

1. Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard: 130 Hardscrabble Rd, North Salem, NY 10560
2. Apple Dave’s Orchards: 82 4 Corners Rd, Warwick, NY 10990
3. Dr. Davies Farm: 306 NY-304, Congers, NY 10920
4. Alstede Farms: 1 Alstede Farms Ln, Chester, NJ 07930
5. Kelder’s Farm: 5755 United States Rte 209, Kerhonkson, NY 12446

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