- Food and Cooking
Fruit Picking in Massachusetts
I may not be the outdoorsy type, but I do like to eat. So every summer I get the urge to pick fruit with my own two hands. I'm lucky because there is no shortage of pick your own fruit farms in northern Massachusetts. And the variety is astounding! I have my favorites (raspberries from Cider Hill Farm and peaches from Smolak Farms) but if you prefer something more exotic like heirloom tomatoes or gooseberries, read on to find where you can get your hands on them.
If you've never been out to pick your own, I recommend that you try it at least once. Choose your favorite fruit, grab a hat and slather sunscreen on yourself, jump in the car and spend an hour picking, then bake them into something delicious... or just enjoy them as is. (There's nothing like a warm peach or berry. Am I right?)
And hey, if picking fruit doesn't float your boat, maybe visiting farm stores does.
Places to Pick Your Own in Northern Massachusetts
Pick Your Own...
Cider Hill Farm
Apples, blueberries, nectarines, peaches, plums, pumpkins, raspberries, and strawberries
Apples, blueberries, cut flowers, peaches, pumpkins, raspberries, and strawberries
Apples, blueberries, cherries, peaches, and strawberries
Apples, currants, Christmas trees, gooseberries, heirloom tomatoes, pumpkins, peaches, raspberries, and strawberries
Don't let the lack of specialized fun like corn mazes and hayrides deter you from visiting -- it's not necessarily a bad thing! If you want to take an hour with young children and pick some berries without getting them wound up from ice cream and mazes, why not try Barker's Farm? Located on Route 125 in North Andover, this smallish farm has very sweet berries.
Cider Hill Farm
Besides picking fruit, there are plenty of other activities to do here. Hayrides, a corn maze, and events like music shows (bluegrass bands, bagpipers, cellists), clowns, or visiting chefs continue to inspire. If you have an idea for an event, why not call them and suggest it? They are open to all good ideas.
There is plenty to do at Connors Farm besides picking your own fruit as well. Events are held during the day or at night (depending on the audience) and include Flashlight Nights in the Maze, Haunted Cornfield, Halloween Kids' Day, Birthday Parties, and Singles' Night.
This immaculate farm grows several types of pick your own fruit, but once you've done your picking, stroll over to the Country Kitchen, Animal Barn, Hay Play area for family fun, or "Tractor Training", where little ones drive little electric tractor around a track under supervision.
Activities abound at Smolak Farms! Besides visiting the Farm Stand with their parents, little ones can have a great time with a multitude of kid-friendly things like wee wagon and hay wagon rides, visiting the Animal Area, and duck races. If visiting during Fall Festivals, there are extended kiddie activities like face painting, a hay pyramid, and batting cages. Young ladies might enjoy American Girl Tea Parties.
Adults can stop by for the Harvest Festivals or Restaurant Series.
More comfort, more fruit!
Pick a pound in no time with this ingenious berry picker.
Fruit Picking Seasons
Save yourself from tearful children, frustrated adults, and an empty gas tank by remembering to call the farm first to check on current picking conditions and confirm field hours.
But it's never too early to think about it! Here's a general list of when fruit can be picked.
- Apples: August through October
- Blueberries: July through September
- Cherries: Late June -- mid-July
- Cut flowers: Mid-July
- Peaches: Early August into mid-September
- Plums: Early August into mid-September
- Nectarines: Early August into mid-September
- Pumpkins: September and October
- Raspberries: July through October
- Strawberries: June
Map of Pick Your Own Locations in Northern Massachusetts
Pick the Best Pick Your Own Place!
What's the best farm for picking your own fruit?
Rules for Picking Your Own
Typically, the farm will supply containers for convenience, and point you in the right direction for fruit that is ready to pick. Also, they often charge a fee to go into the fields, which is usually applied to the price of the fruit. Some locations require customers to pick a minimum of two pounds.
Farms discourage customers from eating directly from the bushes. And why shouldn't they? That's like eating their money. It can be so difficult to not sink your teeth into that juicy piece, but do try to refrain.
Keep your children close at hand. Rows of fields can be disorienting and frightening, especially for little ones who might wander in the hopes of discovering the perfect berry.
Finally, wear a hat, long sleeves, long pants, and sneakers. Avoid wearing sandals as you will be more likely to get bitten by a hungry insect. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin, especially on children.