By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
What better way to buy the season’s bounty than to pick your own apples on a local farm? The area abounds with farms that provide you-pick (often “u-pick”) opportunities. Some also offer activities for children, gift shops and markets with regional goods.
• Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards (https://beakandskiff.com) in Lafayette calls it an “apple campus” for good reason with attractions for all ages. Want to shop? Peruse the Apple Hill General Store for local wares, baked goods and apples galore. Bringing along the younger grandchildren? They can romp in the Kids Treehouse play area. Older ones will have a blast shooting the apple cannon at targets. Imbibing? Sip cider, spirits and wines in the 1911 Tasting Room and Tavern. The Tasting Room also offers meals. The whole family can join in apple picking. Check the website for special events.
• Pick apples and pumpkins at Critz Farm Brewing and Cider Co. (https://www.critzfarms.com) in Cazenovia, which also operates a tasting room so guests can sample ale and hard cider before purchase. Get a glimpse of their 1890s cider press, still in use on the farm. Check the website to attend special events, like the Fall Harvest Celebration, which offers live music, activities, pumpkin and apple picking, petting zoo, corn maze and wagon rides.
• Ontario Orchards (www.facebook.com/OntarioOrchardsOswegoNY) in Sterling offers you-pick apples at the farm, but don’t miss the market in Oswego (https://ontarioorchards.com), either, with a bevy of local goods for sale, along with produce and harvested apples and nursery stock.
• Owen Orchards Cider Mill And Farm Market in Weedsport (www.owenorchard.com) offers a farm market with produce, local goods and apple cider donuts, along with U-pick opportunities for apples, pumpkins and squash. If climbing ladders isn’t for you, most of the trees are accessible from the ground. Enjoy a wagon ride to the orchard on weekends.
• Abbott Farms in Baldwinsville (www.abbottfarms.com) runs a cider mill to offer fresh cider, along with U-pick apples, and local goods, harvested produce and homemade fudge, pies and doughnuts at the market. Bring along the grandchildren for face painting, petting zoo and more. Make a day of it with a picnic lunch from the snack stand.
• Adams Acres in Jamesville (www.adamsacres.net) grows organic apples for sale and U-pick. Leashed, vaccinated, well-behaved dogs are welcome to join you.
• Deer Run Farms in Lafayette (www.facebook.com/DeerRunFarmsCNY) sells both U-pick and harvested apples. Shop the farm market for apple fritters and other baked goods, unpasteurized cider, and numerous local products. Ask for a farm tour.
• Behling Orchards in Mexico (https://behlingorchards.com) offers U-pick apples and pumpkins, along with a corn maze, haunted corn maze, bale maze for little ones, farm market, snack stand, hayride and pony rides. Check the website for special events.
Keep in mind that working farms may have uneven ground, wet conditions, and no public restroom facilities. Wear suitable footwear, clothing and sunscreen. Respect the rules of the orchard as they’re in place for your safety and to protect the trees and farm equipment. Check the farm’s social media page or call before heading out, as weather and other factors can affect U-pick activities. Some farms accept cash only. Farms with many activities often charge admission. If you just want apples, go to a farm with fewer activities.