And what to make with your haul.
Growing up in Louisiana, I thought pumpkin picking meant driving to a plant nursery, walking through piles of orange gourds, then pointing out which one my dad would heave into our van. And apples? Those just came from the grocery store.
It wasn’t until I moved to Pennsylvania at 22—where my roommate dragged me to a local farm to fill bags with green and red fruit, wander through a twisty corn maze, and pick pumpkins off a vine—that I felt like I had truly experienced fall.
Now that I’ve lived in the Northeast for a handful of years, I’ve learned to block off a weekend or two for day trips to picturesque patches and orchards. Curious to learn where my fellow Food52ers like to travel for hayrides, apple picking, and more, I asked them to share their favorite destinations. Here's what they said.
“I go to Masker Orchards in Warwick, NY every fall. There’s a bus from the city that takes you right there. It’s a gorgeous hilly plot of land with the usual fall fair fare (cider doughnuts, hot dogs, funnel cake—oh, and hot apple cider of course). There’s nothing like being stuck on a farm in the middle of nowhere with your friends to force you into slowing down and enjoying the quiet.” —Eric Kim, Senior Editor
"I've only ever been to Maskers Orchards in Warwick, but it was really great! Plus, there's a pumpkin patch and an apple maze." — Joanna Sciarrino, Managing Editor
“This is my favorite orchard because it’s on a mountain and has amazing views of the valley.” —Luz Ramirez, Marketing Manager
“We take our kids to Harvest Moon every autumn. It’s such a treat—the leaves changing color alongside you, folk singers playing their instruments, the scent of warm apple cider doughnuts and pumpkin cheesecake. The hayride is fun and so bumpy that everyone on it laughs the entire time. There is such a nice vibe in the air, you almost forget to pick apples, which they have loads of." —Karen Levi, Director of Operations and Executive Assistant
“Our family goes to Sun High Orchards. It’s only about an hour from NYC and has great market with produce. We also love their fresh baked goods and the requisite cider donuts. This year the selection of apples was great! They had a variety I'd never heard of like Crimson Crisp, a tarter version of Red Delicious.” —Caroline Harris, SVP of Partnerships & Strategy
“You can say my family and I are regulars at Demarest Farms in New Jersey. Not only do they have apple and pumpkin picking, but kids can hop on hayrides and play with animals at the petting zoo. Personally, I never leave without apple cider donuts and apple pies to last me a few weeks! If I could give one piece of advice, I would suggest going first thing in the morning—parking spots are hard to come by and the wait for hayrides can take up to an hour.” —Sean Lee, VP of People and Culture
“I love Fishkill Farms! It was cool and fairly close to the Metro-North train. They also have a cider garden, which I liked the most.” —Grace Ouma-Cabezas, Senior Marketing Director
Where's your favorite place to go apple or pumpkin picking? Share your spots in the comments section below!
Whether you're in the mood for some soup-simmering, leaf-peeping, or nothing at all, your dream weekend awaits...View Guide