Originally my family and I were heading to Berlin Orchards in Berlin, MA for our apple picking adventures. For various reasons (none of them having to do with Berlin Orchards) we chose to visit a new orchard this year-Honey Pot Hill Orchard. I find that sometimes, it is beneficial to try new things! Honey Pot Hill, located in Stow, MA is also a phenomenal family friendly apple picking experience. I still adore Berlin Orchards, don’t get me wrong but it was nice to find another apple orchard that caters to families and children.
When we arrived to Honey Pot Hill, we had various parking lots to choose from-this made parking very easy (bonus!) We lucked out, not even realizing that we parked in the lot where the “U-Pick” entrance was located (Lot A) this meant that we did not have to drag the children from field to field looking for the entrance. Honey Pot Hill was busy, yet we did not have to wait in line at the U-Pick check-in. We paid for our apple bag ($23 for 20lbs) and hay ride ($1 pp, children under 2 free) and headed over to the hay ride area. After a brief 3 minute wait, the tractor arrived with a huge open trailer-we boarded our hay ride, sitting on haystacks-listening to the children squeal in delight. As an adult, I really appreciated being able to sit on a haystack versus sitting on a wooden trailer lightly scattered with hay. Off we went on our tractor pulled journey to the orchards!
The apple picking was great, there were an abundance of apples still left on the trees however. Sadly, one variety of apple we were foraging for was not ready (call to confirm varieties before going, even if the website say’s a particular variety is ready-we learned yesterday, it’s best just to call) but the other two apple varieties were . The only slightly irksome snafu to our entire trip was picking the Honeycrisp apples, because picking them actually involves a rigorous cardio workout! I’m not stretching the truth here folks, you must walk up a hill comparable to a tiny version of Mount Washington, which is sooo steep you literally need to lean over and walk so you don’t fall backwards-don’t forget to dodge those half eaten apples on the ground! If you have children with you, they will give out about half way up, and whine at you until you pick them up and trudge forward. If your 20lb apple bag is full, get ready to sweat and pant and wheeze and keel over once you reach the top. You need to be somewhat of an Olympian to make it to the Honeycrisps, but oh my-are they ever worth the asthma attack!
The children had made it quite clear that they were on strike after we sent them up the hill for Honeycrisps. So, we stopped picking at the Honeycrisps and grabbed as many Bartlet Pears as we could on the way down the hill-literally our hands out grabbing at them while our legs tried to keep up with the downhill slalom. We boarded the next hay ride, ditched our treasures at the vehicle and then set off for the infamous cider donuts, petting zoo, and hedge maze.
The petting zoo and hedge maze were great! Let’s talk about those cider donuts!!!!! OH MY GAWD, they melt in your mouth. Sinful, rich, decadent, warm, fluffy and covered in cinnamon-sugar. We waited in line for 20 minutes, I almost spewed apple cider when the couple in front of me ordered only one donut. I’m sorry, you can’t wait in line for 20 minutes to order one cider donut (there must be some law about that!) . Oh no, not me, nuh-uh, no way! I proudly (and nearly drooling) stepped up to the counter and ordered a half-dozen sugar bag (aka: 6 warm cider donuts, coated in cinnamon-sugar-in a bag) and not one, but two caramel apples smothered in roasted peanuts. I do it up big time, and it was the best $8 without coupons I have ever spent! By the time I left the line, the children announced they were done and not gracefully, I assure you. We trudged to the truck, sugar bag and apples in hand, mustered up enough strength to hop in the car and drove off into the sunset-apple cider donuts hanging out of our mouths.
It was a great time, as apple picking with your family should be. A very picture-perfect type of day enjoying the fresh air, and natures bounty (and rigorous cardio) with the ones you love the most. Thus far I have baked my annual apple pie, and created a new muffin recipe (which will follow in a separate post soon), I also ate an entire Honeycrisp apple-which did not involve baked goods, just to feel healthy