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What to Do on Hudson Valley Farms Besides Apple Picking

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Adobe Stock | Photo by Andy Dean

When the orchard visit is through, there’s plenty on the Hudson Valley’s picturesque farms to keep you and the kids entertained all weekend.

After you’ve finished picking your apples, there’s still plenty to keep you down on the farm: homemade food, children’s entertainment, nature trails, adorable animals, and even distilleries and wine-tasting rooms. Check out what you can do—and what’s new—at 16 farms and orchards around the Valley.

1. Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, Yorktown (Westchester)

There are no fewer than three markets here, selling pies, cider, preserves, and more. But the runaway bestseller is the decadent chocolate-covered apple cider donut. After you’ve had a few, hop on a wagon ride to your apple of choice. Don’t forget to stop by White Hill Vineyard at the Farm for a few select tastings on the weekends. 914.245.5111

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2. Salinger’s Orchard, Brewster (Putnam)

Not a U-pick, this operation harvests its own, so you can grab your favorites on your way home from work. Locally produced preserves, dressings, and honey are available, as are occasional fig trees from a local arborist. Plus, anyone with a sweet tooth will adore the myriad of farm-fresh pies, including pumpkin, pecan, mince, strawberry rhubarb, and apple-walnut-caramel. 845.277.3521

3. Fishkill Farms, Hopewell Junction (Dutchess)

Don’t be put off by the white stuff on the 40 varieties of apples. It’s kaolin clay, a completely nontoxic substance used to deter insect pests on this eco-apple farm. Just behind the well-stocked farm store is a back porch with a killer view where you can picnic in peace. Farm-to-table dinners and virtual programming are among the fun events here. Of course, no visit is truly complete without a tasting at Treasury Cider Bar. If you’re hungry, grab something from the outdoor grill in the realm of Jamaican jerk chicken, kale veggie burgers, and old-school dogs. 845.897.4377

4. Barton Orchards, Poughquag (Dutchess)

This place is a children’s paradise, with a five-acre corn maze, haunted house, petting zoo, Treetop Adventures, and, of course, apple picking. There are some 25 types, so you’ll be kept busy all season long. Visit the website to see the full lineup of festival weekends for the season, plus special events that span everything from beer and cider festivals to costumed drag shows and more. Come hungry on these days, as Barton is known to host a variety of delicious food vendors. 845.227.2306

5. Montgomery Place Orchards, Red Hook and Annandale-on-Hudson (Dutchess)

Four Hudson Valley farmers grow almost 70 apple varieties, many of which are unlikely to be found elsewhere. In 2016, Montgomery Place, a National Historic Landmark, was acquired by Bard College, which renewed Doug and Talea Finckes’ (two of the owners) long-term lease to ensure more intriguing apples at this farm stand appear for years to come. 845.758.5476

6. Apple Dave’s Orchard, Warwick (Orange) 

Formerly Applewood Orchard, this popular destination offers guests a gateway to the natural world through ponds, gardens, and a walking trail. It also hosts live music and puppet shows for the kids, along with an eclectic farm market. Drop in at the distillery, which serves craft beers from the local breweries at Glenmere and Pine Island. Applewood Winery is next-door, offering wine tastings and hard cider. 845.986.1684

7. Masker Orchards, Warwick (Orange)

Open since the days of Prohibition, this classic has welcomed generations to pick their own. The solid apple selection includes a few surprise choices for anyone looking for something more standout to fill pies and turnovers. Weekend pony rides, mazes, and a haunted house keep the kids busy. Don’t miss the store, where you can buy a handy-dandy apple corer to bring home. Also, the scenic Warwick property is ideal for autumn picnics. 845.986.1058

8. Penning’s Farm, Warwick (Orange)

Foodies cruise the market for artisan breads, meats, sauces, fresh eggs, and more. A year-round pub and grill in a converted barn serves local craft beer and house specialties like fish and chips and Korean barbecue steak skewers, with live music on weekends. After apple picking, check out the hop yard and beer garden. Of course, Penning’s Farm Cidery draws hard cider fans for its apple-to-bottle process. 845.986.1059

 

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9. Soons Orchards, New Hampton (Orange)

There’s not a bouncy house in sight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun here. As owner Sharon Soons puts it, “It’s all about eating and drinking” at this family farm, reinvented for today with an expanded tasting room that serves hard ciders and pommeau. There’s a lively music scene here, too, on weekends. Kids love the wagon rides, as well as occasional magic shows and other family-friendly performances. Oh, and the apples go above and beyond the usual mix. 845.374.5471

10. Lawrence Farms Orchards, Newburgh (Orange)

Kiddos love the little storybook village and farm animals at this pretty farm with stellar views across the Hudson. And no one can resist the hay bale maze or local dairy farm ice cream. There are plenty of apples, too! If you fancy a picnic, the concession stand sells paninis, pizzas, and cider donuts. 845.562.4268

11. Hurds Family Farm, Modena (Ulster)

At this family-oriented farm, the kids will never be bored, darting from giant slides, pedal carts, fish feeding, bouncy air pillows, pan-handling, and train rides to nature trails, hayrides, and four corn mazes. Afterward, treat them to café specialties like homemade apple pie or apple cider donuts. And the apple picking? It’s surprisingly quirky, with some interesting varieties. Plus, who could resist the allure of an apple launcher? 845.883.7825

12. Jenkins-Lueken Orchards, New Paltz (Ulster)

An impressive assortment of apples await in the U-pick orchards, so hop on a hay ride on the weekends and fill your basket. Don’t forget to check out the market, where you can do one-stop dinner shopping for grass-fed beef, fresh fruits and veggies, cheeses, eggs, and cakes and pies. The orchard also sells Yankee Folly Hard Cider from the mill down the road. 845.255.0999

13. Philip Orchards, Claverack (Columbia)

Right around Labor Day, this bucolic, no-nonsense pick-your-own opens to the public. There are no hayrides. Just drive (or stroll) up to the trees and get busy. Pssst: Keep an eye out for updates on the current crop on the orchard’s website. Picnics at Philip Orchards are a Columbia County tradition, and “chicken crossing” signs add to the charm of this place. 518.965.6037

14. Samascott Orchards, Kinderhook (Columbia)

This is your go-to orchard for a nice array of hard-to-find apples, including the trending SnapDragon. Fresh-pressed cider and homemade ice cream at the garden market are even more reasons to head to this 1,000-acre farm, which also offers free-range Angus beef, pork, chicken, and eggs. Oh, and there’s a giant corn maze to explore. 518.758.7224

15. Windy Hill Orchard, Castleton (Rensselaer)

The owners of Windy Hill Orchard, formerly Goold Orchards, have many ambitious goals for the farm’s future. Renovating the farm store is only the beginning for the Seeberger brothers. This 106-acre pick-your-own offers a wide variety of apple cider, pumpkins, baked goods, and, of course, a variety of apples from the 13,000 apple trees. Plus, stay tuned for farm-to-bottle wines and ciders from the future Windy Hill Cidery and Winery. 315.822.0046

16. Indian Ladder Farms, Altamont (Albany)

Founded by Dutch cattle farmers over 100 years ago, this forward-thinking establishment retired its development rights years ago, so it will be around forever. After you pick a peck, have brunch at the café or head to the cidery and brewery for some homegrown beverages. During the summer months and early fall, check out Renaissance festivals, baby goat yoga, and more. 518.765.2956

Related: Hit These Hudson Valley Farms for Prime Pumpkin Picking

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