Apple Picking at Masker Orchards

Apple picking at Masker Orchards

Last Sunday my family and I spent the day doing a bit of apple picking at Masker Orchards in Warwick, NY. It was everyone’s first time and we all had so much fun.

Curiously, I’ve been dying to go apple picking for years, even though I’m usually not a huge fan of apples. I don’t have anything against them but I just don’t find them that appealing. But that’s probably because I’ve been eating store-bought apples. If you’ve ever picked a ripe apple off a tree and bitten into it, you know that none of that packaged, frozen stuff from the store could ever compare. Our whole group literally turned into giggling, squealing toddlers who had seemingly never had food before.

Close up of apple tree at Masker Orchards

For a while, I wasn’t sure we’d pull off the trip. First of all, I realized as I was planning the details that the apple season was actually pretty short. It actually goes from September to mid-October, so a lot of varieties had already passed peak ripening time.

Next, finding an orchard was so overwhelming. Google “apple picking in New York” and you’ll find no shortage of lists singing the praises of New York’s orchards. But even so, I searched long and hard before deciding on Masker Orchards. For every place, reviewers had something negative to say. Either it was too expensive or crowded, or in the case of Masker, someone found poison ivy under the trees.

In the end, I finally just went with my gut and settled on Masker, which turned out to be perfect. (Not a sign of poison ivy anywhere!)

Masker Orchards

There’s no fee to enter or park at Masker Orchards, and they encourage visitors to eat freely as you pick. (I can’t say the same for some others who charge $5 – 10 per person just for the privilege of picking.) Did I mention you can drive your car directly into the orchard? You can even bring your own food and have a picnic or barbecue. At the end, you pay $28.95 for each bag of apples that you carry out.

To beat the crowds that everyone warned about, we planned to get there around 10 am, but it was raining all morning in the city and looked pretty dreary when we woke up. We ended up pushing our arrival time back to noon, but I’m so glad we didn’t cancel because halfway into our drive through New Jersey, it was suddenly perfectly sunny. At some point, we realized the roads were bone dry, and the beautiful fall foliage was gleaming in the sun.

Apple trees at Masker Orchards

Maybe we just got lucky, but the orchard never felt crowded. While the cars kept rolling in throughout the day, the endless rows of trees made it easy to maintain some personal space. Most of the time, we were the only family in any given row. Of course, there was a bit of a line at the food stands, but even there we got through pretty quickly. We definitely couldn’t leave without indulging in hefty slices of apple pie à la mode, apple cider donuts and some freshly brewed cider, which they sell at $3.75/ jug.

Views of fall foliage from Masker Orchards

Timing your trip

I feel like we actually went at a great time in the season, though you’ll want to take a look at the ripening schedule at whatever orchard you choose to visit if you have like a specific variety of apples. When we went, mostly Red Delicious and Empires were available, while Cortlands and Jonagolds were pretty much gone.

Had we gone in September though, it would have probably been too warm to feel festive. The weather last weekend was perfect: a bit chilly (as you’ll see from my puffer vest doubled up under my bomber jacket in the photo of me awkwardly squatting), but so refreshing. Every breath was like a cleanse for my lungs. When you live in the city, you sometimes don’t realize how deprived you are of fresh air and just nature in general. The brisk, fall breeze and amazing views of trees changing colors created the perfect backdrop for our day out.

Of course, I immediately started imagining farm life. Or at least a quiet life in the hills with plenty of backyard space to grow my own food garden. At the end of the day, though, I’ll always love the hustle and bustle of the city.

Have you ever been apple picking? Share your stories with me in the comments.

P.S. More fall bucket list ideas.

 

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13 Comments

  1. October 21, 2016 / 1:11 pm

    Wow! I can’t wait to try apple picking. BTW your pictures are so beautiful and vivid!

  2. October 15, 2016 / 11:50 am

    Lovely post!???? Love the tone & the pictures???? Remind me of my childhood adventures in my grandparents garden????

    • October 15, 2016 / 11:52 am

      The smiles became question marks for some reason… 😀 Those meant to be 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • October 17, 2016 / 1:06 pm

        Haha. I’m glad you liked the post. Thanks so much for leaving your kind comment. Where are your grandparents from? Sounds like a great childhood!

          • October 17, 2016 / 1:52 pm

            Nice! I had a feeling it was somewhere in Europe.

  3. golddippedchaos
    October 14, 2016 / 3:11 pm

    Sounds like the perfect way to spend a fall day! I’ve never been apple picking but I love going out to the orchards in the fall and going apple tasting. I hear Warwick is beautiful! Looks lovely from your pictures.

    xo, Heather
    http://golddippedchaos.com

    • October 14, 2016 / 10:40 pm

      I’ve never heard of apple tasting but it sounds fun! Do you get to sample all the different varieties? Either way, it’s so fun to hang out in the orchards and see nature doing its thing. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. October 13, 2016 / 3:00 pm

    Can’t tell you how happy I was to read this post Jhaneel. First because it was nice to hear you crossed another thing off your list to do. But secondly, its because I’m very happy to hear that Masker Orchards is still around, and it sounds like it is the same as it always was (in terms of pulling your car up and being able to picnic. My family used to go here every fall for years, and I’m talking about late 70’s-early 1980’s and I can picture those row upon rows of different varieties clearly. This was really nice for me to see that some old school places are still going strong. Glad you had some fun and the weather improved, and thank you so much for sharing this 🙂

    • October 13, 2016 / 3:08 pm

      Aww, thank you, Robert! This just brightened my day 🙂 I didn’t even realize that Masker Orchards had such history. I feel even better about my whole experience now, and I definitely want to make an annual trip there. Maybe you should take a trip back there soon to visit your old stomping grounds!

      • October 13, 2016 / 3:26 pm

        Yes, I’m not sure how far back it goes, but many the trip was taken by Clan Doyle back in the day! I actually had thought about apple picking but we just came back from vacation last week so we missed the peak time. I will definitely think about it for next year though. If you haven’t heard about it, the Queens Farm does an awesome corn maze. We went last year and it was tough!

        • October 14, 2016 / 10:47 pm

          Sounds like you have some great memories there! And yep, I’m realizing how crucial it is to go at the right time.
          I hadn’t heard about the maze at the Queens Farm, but I just looked it up and it looks pretty epic. Will have to add that to the list for next year because I’m not sure I’ll get over there in the next few weeks. Thanks for the tip!

          • October 14, 2016 / 10:51 pm

            My pleasure on the tip. My parents might view those memories differently with three kids but I certainly remember it fondly. Definitely do the maze next year. Not sure we’ll get to it this year unfortunately

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