Winter Acitivities Guide

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Apples

Cooler temperatures are coming soon which means sweater weather, big cups of hot cocoa, back-to-school, and of course APPLE SEASON! Here is a list of the best family friendly recommendations in CT and NY! In addition to apple picking, many of these wonderful farms also offer things like petting zoos, photo op areas, cider mills, corn mazes, hayrides and even pumpkin patches later in the season (be sure to check the COVID-19 Safety guidelines before you go).

*Apple varieties vary depending on the month, so be sure to call ahead to confirm what fruits each farm currently has to offer.

Where To Go Apple Picking

Barton Orchards
63 Apple Tree Ln, Poughquag, NY
(845) 227 -2306
Apple picking has begun
Sunday – Wednesday, 11a.m. – 6 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Playground, animals, ice cream stand, gem stone mining, mini golf, concessions, farm stand, Tree Top Adventures Thursday – Sunday, but needs to be reserved online. Music on Friday & Saturday evenings, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. No entry fee (except during festival weekends).

Beardsley’s Cider Mill & Orchard
278 Leavenworth Road, Route 110 in the White Hills section of Shelton, CT
(203) 926-1098
Apple picking begins September 12
Bakery open daily, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
COVID-19 Safety Precautions listed here

Bishop’s Orchards
1355 Boston Post Rd, Guilford, CT
(203) 458-PICK – daily updates
Market & winery.
COVID-19 Safety Precautions listed here

Blue Jay Orchards
125 Plumtrees Rd, Bethel, CT
(203) 748-0119
Apple picking begins Saturday, September 5
Market open daily 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. pumpkin patch beginning September 26 (no wagon rides this year)
COVID-19 Safety Precautions listed here

Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem, NY
Apple picking begins Saturday, September 5 by reservation on weekends ONLY! Tickets go on sale every Tuesday for the following weekend.
Farm market open Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (no fall festival this year)
COVID-19 Safety Precautions listed here

Lyman Orchards
32 Reeds Gap Rd, Middlefield, CT
(860) 295-3886 – 24-hour hotline
Apple picking has begun!
Golf, apple barrel & farm market open 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
COVID-19 Safety Precautions listed here

March Farm
160 Munger Lane, Bethlehem, CT
(203) 266-7721
Apple picking begins Saturday, September 12
Market, bakery, playscape, animal yard & corn maze

Outhouse Orchards
139 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem, NY
(914) 277-3188
Apple picking begins Saturday, September 5 by reservation ONLY!
Corn maze, farm stand & pumpkin picking

Rogers Orchards
2876 Meriden-Waterbury Tpke, Southington, CT
(203) 879-1206
336 Long Bottom Rd, Southington, CT
(860) 229-4240
Apple picking season begins Friday, September 4, Friday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.!
Farm store open daily, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. for in-store shopping and curbside pickup

Silverman’s Farm
451 Sport Hill Rd, Easton, CT
(203) 261-3306
Apple picking has begun! (Bring your walking shoes, there will be no transportation by tractor)
Market open daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., animal farm open daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
COVID-19 Safety Precautions listed here

Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm
1335 White Hill Rd, Yorktown Heights, NY
(914) 245-5111
Apple picking tentatively begins Saturday, September 5! Open Wednesday – Monday, CLOSED on Tuesdays.
Corn maze, farm market open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., winer & bakery.
COVID-19 Safety Precautions listed here

 

Know Before You Go

  • Call ahead to check on conditions and the types of apples available for picking.
  • Dress appropriately for the outdoors and for potentially changing weather conditions. Terrain in orchards is usually grassy and bumpy with hills to climb/come down.
  • If you want to bring your dog, check ahead of time. Some orchards do not allow pets.
  • Don’t forget to bring your camera!
  • Definitely bring snacks… many of the orchards are a bit of a drive from Stamford.

How To Pick The Best Apples

  • Apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so the apples out the outside of the tree will ripen first.
    Once they’re picked, apples stop ripening.
  • To pick apples directly from a tree, roll the apple upwards off the branch and give a little twist.
  • Don’t throw apples into your basket or bag after picking. Handle them gently to prevent bruising and spoiling.
  • Don’t wash apples until right before using them to keep from spoiling.
  • Keep apples cool after they’re picked to increase their shelf life.
Blueberries

Local Farms for Blueberry Picking!

Want fresh blueberries and a fun activity to do while social distancing? Blueberry picking season runs July – August in our area. Some farms have already begun pick your own! Below is a list of farms that allow you to pick blueberries!

Be sure to check before heading out to confirm picking conditions and for COVID-19 safety precautions. Some farms will require a reservation this year.

Belltown Hill Orchards
860-633-2789

Bishop’s Orchard
COVID-19 safety precautions available, here!
(203) 458-PICK

Ellsworth Hill Orchard & Berry Farm
(860) 364-0025

Evergreen Berry Farm
(860) 274-0825

Fishkill Farms
COVID-19 safety precautions & reservations available, here!
(845) 897-4377

Jones Family Farm
COVID-19 safety precautions available, here!

Litchfield Hills Blueberry Farm
COVID-19 safety precautions available, here!
(860) 283-9571

Lyman Orchards
COVID-19 safety information available, here!
24 hour hotline: (860) 349-6015

Silverman’s Farm
(203) 261-3306

Need a great blueberry pie recipe for the summer? Art of the Pie’s Kate McDermott shared her blueberry pie recipe with our parent site, The Local Moms Network. Check it out, below! Her book, Pie Camp: The Skills You Need to Make Any Pie You Want (Countryman Press) will be released October 6, 2020.

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe Art of the Pie Dough double crust pie dough
  • 6 cups sweet blueberries fresh or frozen
  • 3/4 cups sugar plus 1-2 teaspoons more for sprinkling the top
  • small pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur like Cointreau or zest of one small organic orange (optional)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon quick cooking tapioca
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Put blueberries, sugar, nutmeg, salt, optional orange liqueur or citrus zest, flour, and quick cooking tapioca in a big bowl, and mix lightly until the fruit is coated.
  3. Roll out the bottom dough and place in your pie pan.
  4. Add the blueberry filling and dot with little pieces of butter…if you remember. (I always seem to forget the butter!)
  5. Roll out remaining dough, lay over the fruit, and cut 5 to 6 vents on top, or cut strips and make a lattice top.
  6. Trim excess dough from edges and crimp.
  7. Brush crust with some egg white wash and sprinkle evenly and lightly with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar.
  8. If it’s a hot day, place pie in refrigerator to chill while oven is preheating to 425°F.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes at 425F. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for 35-40 minutes more.
  10. Look for the steady bubbling of the fruit filling through the vents or lattice work to make sure the filling is fully cooked.

Notes

Be sure to taste the fruit and adjust the sugar and seasoning accordingly.
Add a few strawberries under the crust for a red, white, and blue delight!

Strawberries

Strawberry picking in Connecticut is a fun annual activity! Some farms have already begun pick your own, while others expect to start within the next few days.

Below you’ll find a list of great farms nearby that offer strawberry picking!

Keep in mind, there are new regulations this year due to COVID-19. So, be sure to check the farm’s website and social media pages before heading out… and be sure to bring your masks!

Strawberry season may also change quickly due to weather and crop abundance. To make sure you have the most accurate crop information on the day you choose to head to the farm, we recommend calling or checking online ahead of time.

Happy strawberry season!

Bishop’s Orchard
1355 Boston Post Road, Guilford, CT
No information available for the 2020 season.
Call (203) 458-PICK for daily updates

Buell’s Orchard
108 Crystal Pond Road, Eastford, CT
Opening Day not yet confirmed.
Find safety protocol for the 2020 season here.
Open: Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon, Monday & Thursday, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., CLOSED Sunday

Deeply Rooted Farms
Route 72, Harwinton, Connecticut
Opening Day not yet confirmed.
Find safety protocol for the 2020 season here.
Daily picking conditions available here or call (860) 921-3434

Ellsworth Hill Orchard & Berry Farm
461 Cornwall Bridge Rd (Route 4), Sharon, CT
Opening date not yet confirmed.
Find safety protocol for the 2020 season here.

Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
30 Hardscrabble Rd, North Salem, NY
Starting Saturday, June 14 & Sunday, June 15, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Admission is $5 per person (children under 3 years old are free)
Find safety protocol for 2020 here.

Jones Family Farm
606 Walnut Tree Hill Road, Shelton, CT
Starting Thursday, June 11.
Online reservations are strongly recommended; time slots are limited. Book here!
According to the website, bringing children, under age of five, is not recommended. 

Find safety protocol for the 2020 season here.
Call the Farmer Jones Crop Line (203) 929-8425 before heading to the farm

Lyman Orchard
32 Reeds Gap Road, Middlefield, CT
Open for picking!
Find safety protocol for the 2020 season here.
Call (860) 349-6015 for crop & field conditions, varieties & market prices

Rose’s Berry Farm
295 Matson Hill Road, South Glastonbury, CT
Opening date not yet confirmed.
Find announcements for the 2020 season here.
BONUS: Breakfast with a view! Details available here!

Scott’s Yankee Farmer
436 Boston Post Rd, East Lyme CT
Starting Saturday, June 13.
By reservation only, spots are limited. The reservation system will be open each afternoon for picking the following day. Check here.
Find announcements for the 2020 season here.
Call for more info (860) 739-5209

Starvish Farm
Pleasant Road, Enfield, CT
Open for picking!
Updates available here.

Strawberry Picking Tips

  1. Walk carefully to make sure not damage plants or fruit in or along the edge of the row.
  2. Only pick berries that are completely red. Part the leaves to look for hidden berries ready for harvest.
  3. Remove the berries that look rotten, sunburned, like they have insect injury or other defects and place them between the rows behind you. This keeps the rot from spreading to other berries.
  4. If you plan to keep the fruit for a few days, try to pick in the early morning or on cool, cloudy days. Berries picked in the heat become soft, are easily bruised and do not keep well.
  5. Avoid placing the picked berries in the sunshine. Instead put them in the shade and keep them cool as soon as possible after picking.
  6. Strawberries may be kept fresh in the refrigerator for two or three, depending upon the initial quality of the berry.
  7. Do not wash the berries until you’re ready to use them. This will keep them fresh for longer.
  8. To make sure you eat all of your strawberries, put some in the fridge, wash and cut the green tops off the others and freeze them to keep them fresh longer!

Tips c/o pickyourown.org. Photos c/o Unsplash.

Pumpkins

Costumes are ordered, mums are out, and now we need pumpkins to decorate! Here is your Fall PUMPKIN PICKING GUIDE to the best family friendly recommendations in CT!

In addition to pumpkins, many of these wonderful farms also offer things like petting zoos, photo op areas, cider mills, corn mazes & hayrides.

 

Bishops Orchard
Bishop’s Orchards is an agricultural operation in Guilford, Connecticut, that serves as a farm, retail market, tourist attraction and winery. Bishop’s Orchards began operating as a family farm in 1871. Kids can enjoy a Corn Maze now through the end of October (weekends, 10-5pm). Open 10am-5pm everyday

Address: 1355 Boston Post Rd, Guilford, CT 06437 – Just under 1 hour

 

Blue Jay Orchards
Blue Jay Orchards is a picturesque 140 acre farm nestled in the quaint New England town of Bethel, Connecticut.  It is one of the very few remaining commercial orchards in Fairfield County. They offer apple picking, a pumpkin patch and wagon rides. Open everyday from 9am-6pm

Address: 125 Plumtrees Rd. Bethel, CT 06801 – Approx 40 minutes

 

Castle Hill Farm

Visit Castle Hill Farm this fall and take a walk through their patch! They have over 40 different varieties of pumpkins and gourds to look through! Hayrides and an epic 7-acre corn maze (don’t worry, you get a map!). Open Saturday & Sunday 11am-5pm

Address: 25 Sugar Lane, Newtown, CT 06470 – Approx 40 minutes

 

Ellsworth Hill Orchard & Berry Farm
Located in the scenic Litchfield Hills, this family-owned and operated farm lets you pick your own strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, plum, sweet corn, pears, apples, pumpkins and gourds. They also have hay rides, an amazing corn maze and a vintage train set for the kiddies to play with. Open Monday-Saturday: 9am-6pm and Sunday 8am-4pm

Address: 461 Cornwall Bridge Rd. Rte.4, Sharon CT – Approx 1 hour 30 minutes

 

Harris Hill Farm

Harris Hill Farm has been the area’s premier pumpkin grower for more than 20 years.  On weekends during the month of October, they open their farm to the community and offer a pick-your-own pumpkin patch.  They also invite their guests to enjoy corn trivia, a ride on their hay wagon and to meet the farm animals in their barns. They specialize in large, high quality, jack-o-latern style pumpkins. Open from 10 am to 5:00 pm Saturdays & Sundays

Address: 106 Ridge Road, New Milford CT 06776 – Just over an hour

 

Jones Family Farm
newcanaandarienmoms.com favorite! Established in 1848, this 400-acre farm offers pick-your-own strawberries, blueberries and pumpkins with farm animals, hayrides, corn maze, fall flowers, fresh apples and piles of autumn squash. Pumpkin season is located at Pumpkinseed Hill at 120 Beardsley Road in Shelton. Open from 10 am to 5:30 pm. 

Address: 120 Beardsley Road Shelton, CT 06484 – Approx. 45 minutes

 

Lyman Orchards
Established in 1741, the farm is located on 1,100 acres in the beautiful Connecticut River Valley. You’ll find apples, pears, pumpkins and more. The Apple Barrel offers fresh baked pies, apple cider donuts, muffins, cookies, breads, pastries and more desserts. Apple barrel is open 9am-7pm daily.

Address: 32 Reeds Gap Rd. Middlefield, CT 06455 – Just over 1 hour

 

March Farm
March Farm is a fourth generation family farm destination offering seasonal Pick Your Own apples & pumpkins along with family friendly activities. The Farm Store & Bakery is stocked with farm grown produce, regional food specialties and fresh baked goods – everything you need to compliment your next meal or desert. Enjoy family friendly activities including: (Hill Top Corn Maze, Pond Side Animal Yard, Hayloft Playscape & Pavillion) Open Everyday 10am – 6pm

Address: 160 Munger Lane Bethlehem, CT 06751 – Approx. 1 hour 15 min

 

Silverman’s Farm
Go enjoy their five-acre Animal Farm, visit their Country Market and pick your own pumpkins. Conditions change daily, so please call before coming for picking conditions! Currently available at their farm market – daily-fresh baked pies, cider donuts and baked goods, local honey, syrups and more! Animal farm will be open daily till Christmas (weather permitting) Open daily 9am-5pm.

Address: 451 Sport Hill Rd, Easton, CT 06612 – Approx 25 min

 

Warrup’s Farm
Located in Redding Connecticut, Warrup’s Farm is a small family operation. Join them each year as we make maple syrup, grow fall vegetables, celebrate the pumpkin season, host school groups, and sell Christmas trees.

Address: 11 John Read Road, Redding, CT 06896 – Approx 30 min

September marks the start of falling leaves, crisp cool days, wearing your favorite dark denim washed jeans and cozying up with some warm and savory fall dishes. Whether you plan to pick your own apples and pumpkins for fall dinner recipes & pies OR you’re looking to find a perfect variation of fall favorites at your local specialty store, we’ve got you covered! 

Holiday Train Show at NY Botanical Gardens (Mid November thru Mid January)

New York City’s Favorite Holiday Tradition!

Enchanting model trains zip through a display of more than 175 New York landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials—all under the twinkling glow of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming past familiar sights such as the Brooklyn Bridge and Rockefeller Center on nearly a half-mile of track. This year’s exhibition showcases Lower Manhattan—the birthplace of New York City—featuring the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and iconic skyscrapers sharing the spotlight among old and new favorites. Making their debut this year are One World Trade Center and the historic Battery Maritime Building along with two vintage ferry boats.

Advance reservations are strongly recommended as tickets do sell out. Purchase tickets here.

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