October 1, 2020 by Gabrielle S. Martin
For the past few weeks, I’ve had apple picking on the brain – but then again, who could blame me? My Instagram feed has been overwhelmed by cute snapshots of flannel-clad friends and families standing in blooming apple orchards with picture-perfect blue skies in the background. It’s made me develop a craving for some serious fall fun – and some apple cider donuts.
Good thing we’re so fortunate to live in an area of the world that offers an abundance of options for Pick-Your-Own produce! So this weekend, prepare to pack it up and go picking at one of these three places, all within 30 miles of our hometown:
Belkin Family Lookout Farm in South Natick,
approx. 30 miles (40 minutes) from Hingham
The Belkin family’s farm is a blissful, pastoral oasis located in South Natick, Massachusetts; Lookout Farm is one of the oldest continuously working farms in the United States, producing farm-fresh produce since its establishment in 1650.
The Farm rotates their apple offerings on a day-to-day basis, so check their website for the most up-to-date information.
You can visit the Belkin family’s farm Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm, or from 8am to 5:30pm on weekends. U-Pick Reservations are required to enter the orchard; no walk-in guests will be allowed at this time.
Admission if $20/person (ages 2 and up) and includes a half-peck fruit picking bag. You can always upgrade to a one-peck bag for $29, which is twice as much fruit for only $9 more!
The Lookout’s unique offering is an all-outdoor farm dining experience overlooking the Farm’s 180 scenic acres. Their restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner. You won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to enjoy your meal with a site-sourced hard cider or beers from Lookout Brewing Co.!
Brooksby Farm in Peabody,
approx. 30 miles (40 minutes) from Hingham
Brooksby Farm, owned by and operated in the City of Peabody, is currently offering shortened visits for their U-Pick Fruits; they ask that visitors make their tourists “short but sweet” so that others may have the same, safe, “short but sweet” seasonal-pick-your-fruits experience.
Their apple orchards are open from 10am to 4pm every Tuesday through Sunday; Brooksby Farm is closed on Mondays. They expect to continue offering apple picking through early October. According to their Facebook page, they will be offering $12.00, $20.00, and $40.00 bags; if you are curious on further specifics of admittance and entry pricing, I suggest calling them at (978) 531-7456 for more information.
This 270-acre farm is just 20 miles North of Boston. I’ve included it in our list because I know a lot of Hinghamites are heading north for some quality time with the New England foliage this fall, and Brooksby Farm makes for a great pit-stop for when you’re headed upstate. Plus, what better way to settle into a rental or vacation home than the smell of freshly-baked apple pie?
Pro-tip: if you find yourself at Brooksby Farm over the weekend, look for their new Donut Hut near their side yard. Take some snacks for the road, or enjoy the sweet treat there on Brooksby’s beautiful property! Be sure to order an extra donut in my honor.
C.N. Smith Farm in East Bridgewater,
approx. 20 miles (40 minutes) from Hingham
C.N. Smith Farm Orchard began as a 20-acre potato farm in the 1920s; today, the latest generation of Smiths continues to own and operate the business on 90+ acres of farm land consisting of fruit and vegetable crops. Apple picking is their most popular Pick-Your-Own event, beginning in September and going into the middle of October, depending on crop conditions.
You can pick Macintosh, Macoun, and Cortland apples at Smith Farms though varieties are, of course, subject to change; visit C. N. Smith Farm’s Facebook or Instagram for the most up-to-date information.
Like most of the other orchards on this list, Smith Farm requires reservations for PYO; appointments are available up to five days in advance. They are open Tuesday through Sunday, 9am to 4pm; the orchard is closed on Mondays, save for the Monday of Columbus Day weekend).
There are two booking options: with option one ($30.00), you’re provided with one peck bag (holding 10 lbs. of apples) and admittance for three people into the orchards. With option two ($45.00), you’re given a ½ bushel bag (holding 20 lbs. of apples) and allowed five people into the orchards. Children three years of age or younger are free. Additional entry is $6/person; you may also purchase additional bags when you arrive.
What to Know Before You Go
At all three orchards, masks are required; additional COVID-19 guidelines are also in place, such as limited admittance into the orchards. Further information on preventative measures can be found on these farm's websites, linked above, as well as their social media accounts, also linked above. All venues ask their visitors come prepared to practice social distancing.
Now, I think that just about does it! All of the information you need to plan an afternoon of apple picking is right here, ready for you, so what are you waiting for? Grab your flannel, a few friends, and your favorite fall mask and take to the trees.
After you’ve picked your place, there’s only one thing left to decide: what will you be making with the delicious fresh-picked fruits of your labor?