Fall brings brisk air, colorful leaves, Halloween and Apples & Pumpkins. Today the call of ripening apples hit the household as it does every year. It was time to take the hour long ride northwest into Apple country. In previous years we have engaged in our picking frenzy at the more heavily trafficked Masker’s Orchard. Today we dared to be adventurous and check out another orchard nearby. Pennings Orchard.
The first thing we noticed upon arriving is the amount of effort that was spent guiding and controlling the parking experience. Other Orchards you are left to find parking on your own after traversing a few gravel roads with no real clear understanding, rhyme or reason as to the flow of inbound pickers. Not with Pennings.
There was clear directions and guidance from the various staffers along the dirt road route. It became evident that the plan was to fill parking from the top down. There were 5 parking areas with #5 being at the highest part of the orchard. I can only assume that as they filled up, they moved down to the next parking area until all lots were filled from the 5th to the first. A very smart plan. Very organized and controlled.
That alone set the tone for the rest of the time there. The maps provided of the different types of apples in the orchard were clear and well designed. Fuji, Mac, Golden Delicious, Mutsu and more. All of the types of apples you could possibly hope for were represented.
Before starting we decided to partake in a post-trip picnic as we had brought bagels, cheese (regular & “Stinky), ham and water. We sat on the grass with an awesome view of the valley below while we finished our lunch and set out. First stop… Fuji row. My role was two-fold. The first was to carry the bag that we hoped to fill up with apples. The second was to sample each type of apple to figure out what kind I would like the best.
Of the three types, this is what I found:
- Fuji – Very sweet, medium sized and a good apple in general.
- Cortland – MASSIVE!!! This thing was a beast. The taste was both sweet with a tinge of “twang” to it. What was more amazing was the “meat” of the apple was a brilliant white, not the white-yellowish you would find most apples.
- Golden Delicious – Probably the middle ground of the above two, although slightly more “tangy” than the Cortland.
My choice of the day? The Cortland. Hands down, I think I have a new favorite apple!
The best part of the day was less about the fun I was having sampling the different types of apples right off of the tree, and more about the fun the kids had. I have found, kids in general love picking anything. Apples are one of them. Running around the numerous rows of Apples, picking what they want and adding it to the bag, I think gives them a sense of empowerment. Like they are somehow contributing to the tribe. Then there is the competition of who can get the biggest (or cutest) apple.
With stomachs and bags filled, we hopped into the truck and were again guided gently towards the exit. We made one final stop on the way out at the actual Market area. A bustling place of bushels of apples being loaded, sorted and shipped out while those of us there to pick for the day mixed in buying all sorts of apple related items. I am excited because we picked up a 10-apple Caramel Apple kit. That will be the project for next weekend I hope.
So the overall experience with Pennings was a very positive one. I believe we may have found THE orchard for our future family apple picking fall excursions. I can say that if we time it like we did today, we will definitely be enjoying this for years to come.
Pennings Farm Market (more info)
161 State Rte 94 S, Warwick, NY 10990