It’s always sad to say goodbye to summer in the Finger Lakes, but as the air turns cooler and the lush green trees turn to spectacular red, gold and yellow, it’s not all bad because the bountiful fall harvest season is upon us and it is apple picking time!
Did you know that Americans eat more apples per capita than any other fruit, averaging at approximately 44 pounds per person, which is just over a bushel? Apples come in red, green and yellow and with over twenty varieties of New York State apples, there is an apple to suit everyone’s taste. The Empire apple, which was developed at Cornell University in the 1940s is one of my favorites. Its sweet-tart combination flavor is hard to beat. It’s excellent for just eating on its own but also good for sauces, baking, and freezing. Other popular varieties are the all-purpose Cortland, the extra crisp Crispin and the very sweet Fuji that are all available for picking fresh from the tree.
From north to south in Cayuga County, you’ll find plenty of apple- picking opportunities.
The Apple Station in Cayuga is not only a u-pick but also a store and a winery. You can pick your own or purchase apples in their unique store that also features sweet cider, (very yummy) apple cider donuts, NYS cheeses, jams, jellies, maple syrup and seasonal produce. You’ll feel just like you are in an old country store!
Owen Orchards located on Route 5 between Elbridge and Auburn is an old-fashioned apple orchard and farm with 15 u-pick apple varieties to choose from. They also have a store which is open from mid-August through March where you’ll find apples (of course!), homemade pies, fresh pressed apple cider, cider donuts and an assortment of locally grown and produced vegetables, condiments, cheeses and preserves. On weekends, wagon rides are available to take you out into the orchard! Owen Orchard’s is pet-friendly, so we love to take our dog, Phoebe along for the ride!
The Apple Station and Owen Orchards are part of the Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trail that has twenty stops featuring locally grown and produced sweet treats that include honey, jams, syrups, baked goods and apples!
Grisamore Farms in Locke has 15 acres of apples available for picking mid –September through October 31. They provides picking bags and carts but feel free to bring your own wagon with you as fall is their busiest season. Their farm store is located in a 19th century dairy barn and features country themed products and well as their own fresh produce.
New York State grows more apple varieties than any other state and with nearly 700 growers and 10,000,00+ trees, we produce enough apples each year to bake 500 million apple pies! You’ll find fresh local apples at our farmers markets, roadside stands and smaller family-owned orchards as you travel through Cayuga County, so you have plenty of great places to discover your favorite apples for eating and snacking, baking and cooking. Plus, it’s always fun to meet the growers and their families while enjoying the beautiful orchards in all their glory throughout the fall season. Whether an ‘apple a day keeps the doctor away’ or not, apple picking in the Finger Lakes is a seasonal treat that is not to be missed!