For visitors to local u-pick apple orchards, a good crop awaits

Saratoga Apple owner Nate Darrow picks a Macintosh apple as apple picking season has begun at the Schuylerville orchard. (Erica Miller/Staff Photographer)

Saratoga Apple owner Nate Darrow picks a Macintosh apple as apple picking season has begun at the Schuylerville orchard. (Erica Miller/Staff Photographer)

Categories: -The Daily Gazette, Food

One of the highlights for the fall season, especially for families looking for something to do outside, is to pick apples. And this year, according to several local orchards, the crop is especially beautiful with big, tasty fruit.

Each of the 10 orchards listed here alphabetically are now open for picking. Several have farm stores that stock locally produced honey, jams, cider, hard cider, maple syrup, donuts, pies and other goodies made at the farm. All require masks and to keep social distancing. Many ask pickers to purchase a pre-paid bag that holds about a peck of apples before going into the orchard.

A representative for DeVoe’s Rainbow Orchards in Clifton Park said Wednesday that their U-pick operation will open “sometime in the next two weeks.”

Altamont Orchards

6654 Dunnsville Road/4183 Becker Road; Altamont; 518 861-6515

Jimmy Abbruzzese’s family farm is 52 years old with 300 acres, but only about 23 acres are in apples. Open only on the weekends, they’re currently picking McIntosh and Cortlands. Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. www.altamontorchards.com

Bellinger’s Orchard

685 Argersinger Road; Fultonville; 518 922-8558

This family farm was founded in 1804, but its u-pick operation has been around only since 1930, according to Linda Bellinger. Twelve acres are devoted to growing up to sixty varieties of apples. Pickers can choose from ginger gold, McIntosh, gala, and honeycrisp. Open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. www.bellingerorchard.com

Bowman Orchards

157 Sugar Hill Road; Rexford; 518 371-2042

The Bowman family has owned the 96-acre farm since 1952. Besides sixty varieties of apples, they also grow in-season cherries, several types of berries and peaches. Currently, they’re picking gala, ginger gold, McIntosh, Greening, Jonamac, Shamrock and 20-oz Blondee. There is an entrance fee to the orchard, which allows patrons to visit the farm animals (pigs, sheep, goats, horses). Leashed pets are allowed. The farm store also sells homemade ice cream, and farm toys. Open daily 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. www.bowmanorchards.com

Fo’Castle Orchard

227 Blue Barns Road; Ballston; 518 399-4144

Caran and Alan Colyer own this six-acre orchard that surrounds a lovely 18th century reproduction house. Eight varieties are grown with McIntosh and honeycrisps now available. The trees are all semi-dwarf, which makes for easy picking. There is no farm store on the property but down the road is the Fo’Castle Farm Country Store where donuts and cider can be purchased. Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Find information on the orchard at www.saratogafarms.com

Hicks Orchard

18 Hicks Road; Granville; 518 642-1788

Billing itself as the oldest u-pick operation in the state since 1905, the farm is currently offering McIntosh and Cortlands for pickers. Among the products its farm store offers that have gained a huge reputation over the years are the wood-fired pizza, the cider slushees and the hard ciders. Open daily 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. www.hicksorchard.com

Indian Ladder Farms

342 Altamont Road; Altamont; 518 765-2956

Founded in 1916 by Peter Ten Eyck as a dairy and apple farm, it is currently run by a fourth generation. In the 1970s, the u-pick apple operation was launched as well as the cider donut baking. Today there are 65 acres devoted to producing 40 varieties of apples, including several plantings set aside as experimental variety overseen by Cornell University’s fruit testing program. The farm has its own Brewery and Cidery as well as its Yellow Rock Café, which offers take-out. McIntosh is available for picking now. Open 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily. www.indianladderfarms.com

Riverview Orchards

660 Riverview Road; Rexford; 518 371-2174


The Barrett family has owned this farm since 1944 and has always grown apples — up to 11 varieties currently. While pickers can choose from McIntosh and Cortlands, the farm’s bakery is in high gear with up to 35 different types of pies, award-winning cider donuts, apple strudel. The farm’s store also offers salsa, cheese, eggs and other hot stuff. Open for picking 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. www.rivervieworchards.com

Sand Flats Orchard

371 Martin Road; Fonda; 518 853-4899

The Hoffman family moved from Colorado to purchase their home in 1987, later bringing the farm’s acreage up to 100 acres a few years later. In 1990, they planted their first 100 apple trees with their first apple sale in 1996. They’ve planted more trees since and now have 4,000 trees with more than 10 varieties spread out over seven acres.Their bakery opened in 2004. Currently, Meg Hoffman said McIntosh, gala and autumn crisp were open for pickers. And their bakery now offers breakfast on the weekends (7 a.m. – 11 a.m.) at 50 percent occupancy or for take-out. Their store also offers farm decorations such as gourds, straw bales, Indian corn, pumpkins, and mums. Open Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekends. www.sandflatorchard.com

Saratoga Apple

1174 Rt. 29, Schuylerville; 518 695-3131

Familiar to many for their products’ presence at numerous local farmers’ markets, owner Nate Darrow has instituted a new location for pickers. Instead of roaming about the multi-acre site, pickers will gather in a 40’ by 80’ tent across the street from the farm store where they’ll pick up pre-paid bags and then be directed to specific locations over a five-acre field to pick. Currently, McIntosh, Paula Red, Cortland, ginger gold, and Macoun are available. A tap room that features the farm’s own hard cider now available in 16-oz. cans, will also be in the tent. Cider donuts and pies are available through a window from the new kitchen. Open daily 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. www.saratogaapple.com

Terrace Mountain Orchard

158 Apple Blossom Road off Terrace Mountain Road; Schoharie; 518 295-7755

Fifty of the farm’s 600 acres are devoted to more than 16 varieties of apples. Available for picking are gala, ginger gold and McIntosh. The Farm’s Barn also offers cider donuts, fudge, cider and more. Wagon Rides on weekends to and from picking locations are also held. Open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. www.terracemountainorchard.com

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