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Posted by Lia Jackson, guest blogger of Fitchburg State University

It’s almost that time of year again when the leaves start to change color, the weather gets a little cooler, and spiced everything makes a return. Now’s the perfect time to start planning your apple picking adventure. Orchards, farm stands, and harvest experiences-a-plenty throughout Massachusetts, but here are a few to get you started!
Located in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Russell Orchards offers 29 different apple varieties; starting from the traditional Gala and McIntosh red apples to the tartest, green Granny Smith. Open seven days a week, Russell Orchards offers fresh-baked goods, local produce, and even wine tastings on Friday – Sunday. Make sure to try their delicious cider donuts on a crisp afternoon while you’re picking apples with family and friends.

Whether you are getting lost in a corn maze, enjoying a hayride, or getting to know the furry farm animals with your little ones, Honey Pot Hill Orchards is a great spot to spend a day with the family. With apple varieties like Honeycrisp, Empire and Early Mac, there’s no shortage of fall flavor at Honey Pot. Stop by the farm store to sample fresh pressed cider, as well as jams, local honey, and (of course) the cider donuts.
Tougas Family Farm has been a family owned and operated farm since 1981 in Northborough. Since the early days, they’ve expanded their farm by growing a wide range of fruits, selling baked goodies and maple syrup, and even doing farm tours and outings. Tougas Family Farm is committed to sharing their love for the farm and their products, and being a fun-for-all destination; a great spot to spend the day with good company!

With over 60 cultivars (that’s fancy for varieties) of apples on the farm at various stages of production, Bear Swamp Orchard and Cidery is a special place. This boutique orchard and cidery uses solar power and sustainable practices to grow apples that are used for hard cider and good ol’ fashioned apple picking! Sample the gamut and try their well-known hard cider for a unique taste of Massachusetts during the fall.
Keith’s Farm is a long time family business with a wide selection of fresh, farm grown seasonal fruits, vegetables and plants. PYO apples and pumpkins during the fall season are a must, plus the ever-popular hayride with friends and family. Keith’s Farm also has a food truck on sight that serves cider donuts, grilled peaches, ice cream and more. The toughest part will be deciding which to try first.

Celebrating their 100th year in business this year, Brookfield Orchards is a family owned business whose goal is to provide everlasting memories and fresh fruit for families and the community. Open year round, Brookfield Orchards offers an array of locally grown apples, fresh-baked goods, an assortment of jams, and custom gift baskets. Stop by their snack bar and try their most famous apple dumplings as well as their apple pies.
In addition to the tasty pick your own fruits, Pine Hill Orchards is an all-year destination for comfort foods (check out their restaurant!), fresh baked breads and sweets, deli meats and cheeses, and more. 75 acres of orchard grow a wide selection of fruits and produce, and the cold storage method of keeping apples means that even during the off-season months, you can still enjoy fresh apples. Try their sweet cider and shop for locally produced gifts from area makers at their store.

Can’t get enough apples and cider donuts? Check out the full list of orchards, farm stands, and pick your own locations here.