Apple-Picking Season Begins: Festivals, Orchards, and More

The Valley’s juiciest apples are ripe for the picking. Here are some of our favorite orchards and apple festivals

Labor Day marks the official beginning of apple-picking season in the Valley. Yes, it’s that time of year, when dozens of local orchards hitch up their tractors, throw open their gates, build a crazy corn maze, and do whatever they can to welcome the masses searching for some quintessential fall fun.

We celebrate this special season in lots of ways. On September 19, the 4th annual Hudson Valley Apple Festival will be held in Germantown’s Palatine Park. Besides the regular goodies — hayrides, an apple bake-off, arts and crafts — this fest features a fun apple-crate derby race. Warwick’s legendary Applefest is held on Sunday, October 4, and features tons of food, nonstop entertainment, and more than 200 craft vendors.

While most of us are busy baking away, some crafty folks are incorporating apples into household products. One of our favorites: Hudson Valley Apple Soap from High Street Soap in Central Valley. It’s not only refreshing, but is 100% vegan-friendly, too.

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Related: Our Complete Apple-Picking Guide

That said, it’s time to get pickin’! Here are some of our favorite orchards:

Altamont Orchards Altamont
Since 1971, this family-owned farm has been providing locals with a variety of pick-your-own apples, including ever-popular Galas. The farm sells plants, dairy, eggs, jams, jellies, honey, maple syrup, cider, and Christmas trees. Visitors have access to a bakery, gift shop, greenhouse, and Orchard Creek Golf Club (public course). Open Apr.-Nov. 518-861-6515;

The Apple Bin Farm Market Ulster Park
This orchard offers more than 10 varieties of apples ready for picking and other seasonal fruits and vegetables. Besides homegrown produce, the market has the famous apple cider donuts, fresh-baked pies, and a large selection of flowers and fruit trees. 845-339-7229;

Apple Dave’s Orchards and Distillery Warwick
As the first-year winner of the “I Love NY” tourism award, this orchard offers both fresh produce and fun activities for every age. The orchard has 11 different apple varieties, including Cortland, Empire, and Red Delicious. In addition, the orchard offers wagon rides and puppet shows for children, and samples from the Distillery and Applewood Winery for adults. 845-986-1684;

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Barton Orchards Poughquag
This popular orchard, open every weekend in the fall, offers 25 different varieties of apples. In addition, enjoy pumpkin picking, performances by storyteller Bindlestick Bill, hayrides, a petting zoo, a corn maze, a haunted house, and a playground. 845-227-2306;

apple crate derby
The apple crate derby is just one of the many fun attractions at the Hudson Valley Apple Festival in Germantown. Photograph by David Lee

Greig Farm Red Hook
Greig Farm offers pick-your-own apples throughout September and October. There’s a greenhouse on the farm with everything for the planting season, a petting zoo with pygmy goats, and a koi fish pond. Open daily, Apr.-Dec. 845-758-1234;

Hurds Family Farm Modena
This 400-acre orchard boasts more than 100,000 apple trees and 20 varieties of apples, including the newbies SnapDragon and RubyFrost. Besides homegrown fruits and vegetables, find farm-to-table products and a café with homemade cider donuts, hot and cold apple cider, cookie bars, and other baked goods. The café is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 845-883-7825;

Indian Ladder Farms Altamont
Indian Ladder Farms offer visitors pick-your-own berries and 23 varieties of apples, including Golden Delicious, Cortland, McIntosh, and sweet-as-sugar Honeycrisp. There’s a farm market, gift shop, petting zoo, herb garden, picnic area, and nature trails on the site. Their Yellow Rock Cafe serves brunch and lunch. 518-765-2956;

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Jenkins-Lueken Orchard New Paltz
This New Paltz-based orchard has nine varieties of pick-your-own apples: McIntosh, Empire, Fortune, Fuji, Jonagold, Macoun, Golden and Red Delicious, and Ida Red — all available September and October. The farm is famous for its fresh-squeezed apple cider from its own cider mill, as well as its warm apple pie. 845-255-0999;

Philip Orchards Claverack
In addition to 17 varieties of apples — including the sought-after McIntosh and Cortland — this family-owned orchard has pick-your-own pears, raspberries, and plums. Tomatoes and eggs from free-range chickens are also available. Open daily, Jul.-Nov. 518-851-6351;

Soons Orchard New Hampton
Growing apples since 1910, Soons Orchard has more than 30 acres with 50-plus varieties of apples, including Green Cortland, Golden Supreme, Lady Jean, and Macoun, among others. In addition, the orchard can send apples by mail with an apple gift pack. Sweet apple cider and dinners — made with local produce by Chef Shawn Hubbell — are also available at the farm. 845-374-5471;

Wilkens Fruit Farm Yorktown Heights
The farm has 29 types of apples ready to pick, including the well-known Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples, and lesser-known varieties like Snow Banana and Zestar. The farm market also offers baked goods like cider donuts, strudel sticks, and apple pie. 914-245-5111;

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