8 Best Apple Picking Maine Orchards to Visit This Year
This guide will provide you with all of the insight and information you need for the best Maine apple picking this year, including a few of our favorite apple picking Maine orchards!
Tucked away in the northeast corner of the country, and aided by sea breezes from the Atlantic, the growing conditions for apples are nearly perfect in Maine.
Throughout the state, orchards grow more than 100 varieties of apples, ranging from crisp and sweet apples that make the best fall snacks to tart apples that are ideal for simmering apple pies that finish off any harvest meal.
Locals and travelers who are looking for a fall getaway will find that the apple picking season in Maine begins in late August, and runs throughout the length of September and October.
Throughout the season, apple pickers will find that the varieties begin to change, as some apples are ripe in the late summer months while others ripen late into the season.
Fun Facts About Maine Apples That You Need to Know
Some people say that apples simply grow sweeter here in Maine, but to find out for yourself, you are going to have a try a few varieties this fall. Before you head out to one of the many apple picking Maine orchards, consider these fun apple facts.
Maine grows more than 100 apple varieties.
More than 100 apple varieties grow in Maine, but each orchard typically focuses on 20 or 30 varieties. You can usually get information about which varieties are available at individual orchards from their websites or by contacting them in advance.
McIntosh apples are the most popular.
The McIntosh apple has long been the most popular apple in Maine and throughout New England, but other varieties are trending as well. In particular, the Macoun is quickly becoming a beloved variety among locals.
Most apple picking Maine orchards are about 20 acres.
The average apple farm in Maine consists of about 20 acres of land. However, some are as large as 320 acres, while others are as small as 1 acre.
Locals love apple cider during the fall.
Apple cider is a favorite beverage in the fall, especially among locals who have long been accustomed to this sweet drink. With that in mind, most people do not realize that about 35 apples are required to create just 1 gallon of apple cider.
Tips for Picking Apples at Maine Apple Orchards
As it turns out, apple picking is a bit of an art form. These tips will help you find the best apples on the trees and pluck them from their branches:
- Know where to find the ripest apples on the tree. The best apples for eating will be found on the outermost edge of the tree, as these apples ripen first.
- Shaking the apple trees may make the fruit fall off in cartoons, but in real life, this is not the best way to get an apple off the tree. In fact, it can damage the tree and ruin the existing fruit. Instead of shaking the branch to check for loose apples, gently twist the apple to see if it comes loose. If it comes off easily, it is ripe and ready to eat.
- Once you find your apples and pick them, store them in a small cardboard box or a canvas bag, and carry them gently. This will prevent bruising and preserve your apples until you are ready to eat them or bake with them.
The Best Apple Orchards in Maine
Apple picking is a fall tradition in Maine, so it’s an activity that is usually included on most people’s autumn bucket lists — regardless of their age or stage of life. These are some of the best apple picking Maine orchards that you can visit.
Lakeside Orchards | Manchester Maine
Lakeside Orchards is a family-owned apple orchard that has been producing a wide variety of apples for more than 40 years. With more than 200 acres, it is one of the largest apple farms in the state, and it is a favorite place to visit for many residents across the New England region.
If you simply want to get your favorite bundle of apples and get back home, you can shop at the orchard’s Farm Store. However, there are also pick-your-own experiences available for those who are interested.
Keep in mind that the variety of apples that are available to pick will vary based on the time of year, with McIntosh apples being one of the most popular early season varieties.
Ricker Hill Orchards | Turner Maine
For more than 200 years, Ricker Hill Orchards has been providing fall flavors to the people of Maine. This family-owned farm has become a mainstay in the local community and a favorite place to visit when the fall season arrives each year.
Apple picking has long been the specialty at this orchard. The apple-picking season begins in early September with the ripening of McIntosh apples but continues into late October. Some of the varieties that can be found on this farm include Ginger Gold, Red Delicious, Empire, and Honeycrisp.
Sometimes, other delectable varieties are available, but it’s best to call in advance to check on the availability of these harder-to-find apples. These include the Northern Spy, the Duchess, and the Baldwin.
In addition to U-pick apples, this farm offers plenty of entertainment options for people of all ages. The youngest visitors can enjoy pony rides, bounce houses, and petting farms on the weekends, while the adults prefer the food trucks and the live music that enhance the atmosphere of the farm.
There is simply no place more fun on a fall weekend in Maine than Ricker Hill Orchards!
Cayford Orchards | Skowhegan Maine
For the quintessential New England farm experience, head to Cayford Orchards in Skowhegan Maine. This apple orchard is a sixth-generation family farm that specializes in heirloom apples. It spans more than 18 acres and boasts more than 1,200 apple trees that grow 57 varieties of apples.
It’s the kind of place that doesn’t offer a lot of bells and whistles — there’s no sense of the agritainment industry here — but it is a family-friendly farm where people can pick their own crisp, delicious apples throughout the fall.
The season begins in late August with ripe Paul Red apples and extends through September with the arrival of Wealthy, Cortland, and Snow apples. The harvest wraps up each year by mid-October with late-season varieties such as Jona Gold and Northern Spy apples.
A selection of apples is available by the bag or bushel. Or, you can enjoy a U-pick experience for as long as there are apples on the trees.
Hansel’s Orchard | North Yarmouth Maine
Sometimes, simple is better when it comes to fall family activities. Hansel’s Orchard in North Yarmouth is a quaint apple orchard that provides plenty of space for people to explore the apple trees, picnic beneath the leaves, and grab a few of their own apples.
This apple orchard’s season begins in early September, and it’s open for business on Wednesdays and the weekends, as well as on select weekdays in October.
Those who are interested in pick-your-own apples will be pleased that they can stop by the orchard to choose their own McIntosh, Cortland, and Macoun apples throughout the growing season. In a typical year, the McIntosh apples are ripe first, and the Cortland and Macoun varieties ripen in late September and early October.
By the end of the season, many of the best apples are at the top of the trees, but there are stepping stools available for those who need a little extra height to reach those final fruits of the year.
Libby & Sons U-Picks | Limerick Maine
While apple picking is a favorite activity among locals and visitors in Maine throughout the fall season, sometimes people are looking for a little bit more than just a day in the orchard. If your family is searching for a place filled with plenty of activities, Libby & Sons U-Picks in Limerick is the right spot for you.
This 40-acre farm not only specializes in U-pick apples but also offers U-pick blueberries and raspberries in September and early October.
In addition to ample U-pick opportunities, this farm is a destination for family fun. On the weekends, there are always unique live activities and events to enjoy, such as pumpkin-carving contests, live music, beer and wine tastings, and balloon twisting for the youngest visitors.
When you arrive at Libby & Sons U-Picks on a fall weekend, you can show up early and be prepared to hang out for the entire day, enjoying the fresh Maine air and the bright fall sunshine.
Meadow Brook Farm | Raymond Maine
Meadow Brook Farm describes itself as a destination for old-fashioned apple picking in Raymond Maine. This is a smaller, locally-owned farm that begins its season in late August and usually wraps up the season by the end of September.
Some of the apple varieties that can be found on the trees throughout the season include McIntosh, Cortland, and Golden Delicious apples.
While the appeal of this farm is its laid-back nature and welcoming atmosphere, it hosts a variety of events during the fall to give visitors of all ages exciting ways to enjoy the property.
For example, there is a storytime program for toddlers and preschoolers who want to listen to a storybook amid the beauty of their surroundings. In addition, there is a farm stand that sells bushels of apples, fresh-cut flowers, local products, and more.
Five Fields Farm | Bridgton Maine
Five Fields Farm in Bridgton Maine begins the season as a fall destination but ends the year as a spot for outdoor wintertime fun. In the fall, you can come to Five Fields Farm to visit the apple orchards, which produce nine varieties of apples throughout the fall.
The first apples to arrive each year are the Paula Red and Ginger Gold, and they are followed close behind by the McIntosh, Cortland, and Honeycrisp. The season wraps up each year with the Macoun, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Red Lady, allowing visitors to grab the apples before the snow falls.
The orchards don’t close once the snowflakes start flying, though. Instead, fall visitors can grab their winter gear and go cross-country skiing along the trails that wind around the orchards and lead into the valleys that extend beyond the farm. This allows you to enjoy the beauty of Maine no matter the weather.
Sweetser’s Apple Barrel and Orchards | Cumberland Maine
The Sweetser Family are considered local apple experts in Cumberland Maine. The family has owned and operated the farm at this location since the early years of the 19th century, and it has continued to be a family-run operation into the 21st century.
The apple orchards were first planted in the 1830s, but the farm did not become a more commercialized operation until the 1950s when the family decided to expand their offerings. And, what began as a roadside stand in the 1950s has become a destination for fall fun in the heart of Maine.
Today, Sweetser’s Apple Barrel and Orchards consists of more than 14 acres and is home to about 1,100 apple trees. The season often peaks in September when the farm has several varieties of apples. In addition to these apples, guests can pick up fresh apple cider that is crafted from the apples on the farm.
Enjoy Fall Fun at Apple Picking Maine Orchards This Year
From experienced apple scouters who have been grabbing ripe fruit straight from the trees for years to those who are trying a new fall activity for the first time, you are sure to see people of all ages and backgrounds in the orchards this year. There is no better way to spend a fall afternoon than amid Maine apple trees.
For more fall fun in Maine, don’t miss your chance to see the foliage on fall scenic drives. You can use our Maine fall foliage map and guide, as well as check out the best places to visit in fall in Maine. There are even many Maine fall festivals to keep you busy with a variety of entertainment.