A fall tradition in Maine is to go apple picking which starts in August and lasts till mid-October. This year my husband and I decided to visit Randall Orchards, located about 30 minutes away from Portland in Standish. We thought Randall's quaint farm scenery made it one of the most beautiful apple orchards we have been to. This orchard offers the quintessential New England apple-picking experience.
At Randall Orchards, PYO apple-picking is a little bit different than what we were accustomed to. Normally you pick your apples and return to a farm stand to weigh them. At Randall's, you pay in advance so it doesn't matter what kind or how many apples you pick as long as it fits in the bag.
The benefit of this payment method is that you can head to your car straight away without having the hassle of waiting in a line to weigh your fruit. However, on the flip side, you have to commit to how much you want to pick and what size bag you will purchase at the beginning. We went with the medium choice, 1-peck, and filled it to the brim!
The Farm Stand
At the farm stand, you will find an abundance of fall goodies such as pumpkins, gourds, apples, cider, and maple products. I already purchased pumpkins prior to coming here, but I would have bought them here because they came in a variety of sizes and seemed reasonably priced too.
Randall Orchard is known for their apple cider so make sure you pick up a jug. The farm doesn't make their own doughnuts, though they had some apple cider doughnut holes to purchase from a local restaurant, Percy's Table. I recommend getting a box of these to complement your apple cider. Doughnuts and cider are a must-have after apple-picking!
Apple Picking Tips
Pick, don't shake: Twist apples to break the stem off the tree instead of pulling straight away or shaking them off. Even a gentle shake will cause a heap of apples to fall to the ground which will bruise and ruin them.
Go in the morning: If you go earlier in the morning when the orchard opens up at 9 AM you will probably get the orchard to yourself. It's so peaceful and quiet to walk around the grounds before the families pile in during the late morning.
Find the unpicked trees: If you travel away from the farm stand, on the outer edge of the orchard you can find the untouched or barely-picked trees since most people pick the trees they first see!
Preserving your apples: After picking, its best to keep your apples cool to increase shelf-life. Put them in your fruit and veggie drawer of your refrigerator and don't wash them until right before eating. For apples that you plan to eat soon, you can leave them in a fruit bowl on the counter for a few days.
Did you go apple-picking this year? Drop me a comment to share where your favorite orchard is!