It’s finally apple season! Nothing beats a crisp sweet apple picked straight from the tree… except of course when it’s turned into apple cider!
This season the apple orchards were hit hard with a late frost and a pretty severe drought. As a result, the apples are not as plentiful and are a bit smaller, but they are still really delicious and they are available at most pick your own orchards for the public to pick.
My personal favorite apple orchard is in Ellington: Johnny Appleseed’s. And it’s my favorite for a pretty spectacular reason…
It’s where the husband proposed!
(Photo by Robert Adams, Ellington, CT)
This orchard has basically become a part of our family. We go every year for apple picking and pumpkins. At first, it was just a special place for me and the husband; but now with my boy in tow, it’s become our family tradition. And he’s been going since he was three months old!
So I am super delighted to share my favorite family tradition with you.
The farm is located in Ellington (farm country) and on the day we picked this year, you could smell that. Whew! The orchard is located on Route 83, with the entrance to the apple orchard just past Kloter Farms.
(from Johnny Appleseed’s Website)
You’ll see their big sign for the apple orchard.
Worth noting, when you do plan to visit, make sure you call to find out current picking conditions, since they do sometimes close due to weather. The prerecorded message will also tell you which apples are picking that day. They also post their orchard hours when you first pull into the driveway. The orchard is typically open from mid-August to October for apple picking.
Depending on when you visit during the season, you might find yourself picking at the lower orchard, or driving further up and picking on the hill. Usually, early season picking is at the lower orchard. That’s where we picked this time.
The parking lot is right in the grass, and it wasn’t too crowded when we picked on a Sunday afternoon. If you visit when they are picking further up the hill, the parking is mostly on a paved lot.
I noticed this port a potty right near the parking lot in the lower orchard. Otherwise, there are no bathrooms on the farm.
When you first arrive, there is a small shelter where you can find out what is picking, grab some bags and also pay for your apples when you are done. When we visited, they were picking Jonamac, Cortland and Spartan.
Some of the apples were quite a ways down the hill, and though it was walkable, we decided to have the full orchard experience… we rode the tractor!
There are rows and rows of apple trees. The great thing about this orchard is that they grow dwarf apple trees, which are the perfect height when picking with little kids. The rows are also spaced apart enough so you don’t feel crowded, but also close enough that you really can’t lose anyone. The lower orchard does run parallel to the main driveway, so when you reach the end of the row, you want to be careful that your child doesn’t run off. The upper orchard does not have that concern.
Throughout the orchard, you’ll find these signs. These basically tell you which rows to pick from. They like that you stay within certain rows as marked. Each marker indicates which apple is down that specific row. We also noticed they had extra bags hanging from the signs, which is great if you pick more than you plan… like me.
And finally, we were off!
The apple trees are really beautiful! And they were actually quite full of apples!
Since I have a two-year old, he could only reach some of the lower branches… and he also liked to pick the rotten ones from the ground. Yuck! Throw those ones back!
For the taller branches, he needed daddy’s help!
We spent a while going to the other two apple varieties, and ended up with a hefty load!
The walk back was up a hill, and with a tired toddler and a whole lot of apples, we lucked out finding a wagon!
After we paid for our apples, we decided to head up the hill towards the exit and also so we could check out the orchard up the hill. It wasn’t open for picking and the pumpkins weren’t out yet, but we still enjoyed the view! Usually the pumpkins come out in late September to October. Also, around that same time they open up a corn maze!
We headed out of the orchard after a fun hour of apple picking!
Now right when you pull out of the farm, if you take a right, it brings you to the intersection with Route 83. Take a left at that light and about 1/4 mile down the road, on the left, you’ll find Johnny Appleseed’s Farm Market!
The store hours are listed right when you walk in the door.
I love this little market! They have so many things for purchase: mums, loads of fruits and vegetables, apple cider, fresh made cider donuts, jams, pies, and so much more!
If I insist you buy one thing, it’s the cider donuts… and the cider. Okay, I insist you buy TWO things!
And if you didn’t get enough apples in the orchard, you can buy more apples! They also sell utility apples if you’re a hardcore jelly maker or sauce maker like me! You have to know to ask though – they usually aren’t out on display.
They also have a sign hanging above the apples which lists the picking times for all the apples they grow.
I often hear people asking where to pick apples- and some are even looking for orchards with cider, donuts, pumpkins and tractors. Well, here’s your answer! In my opinion, this is one of the best apple orchards in Connecticut. So make sure you come check them out this fall! And don’t forget your cider and donuts!
Oh, and if you are wondering, what can you do with all those apples? Well, besides a dozen jars of frozen applesauce? Or pie? You can make these… baked stuffed apples. Yum!
This about sums it up…
185 West Road – Ellington, CT
(860) 875-1000 (for up to date picking conditions)
From their website: Mid August thru late October. Apple picking is usually open daily, weather permitting. Summer hours are 9am-1pm, Fall hours 9am-5pm.
See their website for an up to date schedule.
- Pick your own Apples, Peaches & Pumpkins
- Corn Maze
- Tractor Ride
- Family friendly
- Cash and credit card accepted
- Strollers can be difficult to maneuver in some areas
- Sunny (it is a farm!)
- Large parking area
- Port-a-potty on site – no changing table