By Erin Dodds, Chairman of the Green Committee
It’s apple picking season! PIFS Green Committee member, Betsy Wells, has thoughtfully pulled together the information below to help you find the best spot for your family. Please be sure to call each orchard ahead of time or check the orchard websites for updated information on what is available.
Fishkill Farms – An Eco-Farm in the Hudson Valley
For those healthy, little bodies, Fishkill Farms is a great spot to visit because it’s an eco-friendly farm – and it’s not easy to find apples that aren’t treated with heavy pesticides.
Fishkill Farms is a working ecological farm in Hopewell Junction, NY, about an hour away from Greenwich. They have pick-your-own fruit all summer long and into the fall. Summer brings berries and vegetables and end-of-season peaches. Apples are ready all fall, from Macintosh in September to Macoun in October. Other varietals at Fishkill include Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Jonamac, Cortland, Empire, and Organic Ida red. They have five acres of organic apples, the rest of the orchard uses Integrated Pest Management (read: spraying a preferably eco-friendly pesticide when necessary and using other natural ways to manage pests and disease). According to their website, apples are notoriously difficult to grow organically. It is possible, if you don’t mind fruit without a perfect appearance!
9 Fishkill Farm Road
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
Open 7 days, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Drive your car right to the orchards.
$5 per person picking charge (Tuesdays are free) in addition to buying your fruit. (Cost offsets the increased price of organic farming.) Kids under 12 are free. Apple bags come in three sizes, price varies. Apple cider donuts (yes, please!), pies, cheese and other goodies are available at the farm store. Portable potties are near parking in the fields. Weekends bring hayrides, an outdoor grill, beverages, including homemade cider, and Hudson Valley ice cream. Credit cards accepted. Check their Facebook page for the latest updates.
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard – A family farm right in Westchester County
Harvest Moon is a family farm in North Salem, NY. They have an apple orchard with a farm store where they sell their own hormone-free, organic turkey, chicken, pork and grass-fed beef. They also have cider, farm eggs, local honey, dairy cheese, and maple syrup and…wait for it…apple cider donuts! Their website notes that most of their trees are currently picked clean but they do have plenty of varietals (McIntosh, Macoun, Empire, Cortland, Gala, Fuji, Bartlett Pears, and Honeycrisp) in bins throughout the orchard and at the farm store. Again, their practice is to use IPM and the most environmentally-friendly pesticides available.
130 Hardscrabble Road
North Salem, NY 10560
Open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. April through Christmas
Apple picking hours 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
$30 bag (25 pounds) per 5 people. Additional people in the group: $5 each. Weekend fall festival (with hayrides, pony rides, bouncy castle, face painting, pizza and BBQ). No dogs allowed, unfortunately!
Outhouse Orchards – A nearby farm with a huge corn maze and famous cheesecake
Across the street is the perennial family-owned and operated Outhouse Orchards. They have hayrides, a giant corn maze and pick-your-own apples and pumpkins in the fall. Apples that are currently ripe include Rome, Baldwin and Red Delicious. They’re known for their delicious pumpkin cheesecake.
139 Hardscrabble Road
North Salem, NY 10560
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
$5 parking on weekends. Pre-pay $25 for one apple bag.
Silverman’s Country Market and Animal Farm – A Connecticut treasure founded in 1920
In Easton, Connecticut, straddled across Sport Hill Road (Route 59), you’ll find Silverman’s. A country market and orchard on one side and an animal farm (with petting and feeding) on the other, Silverman’s offer endless photo opportunities (think PIFS’s pumpkin patch on steroids) and fun for the kids. Stop by before or after school one day during the week as weekend apple picking has ended. However, that shouldn’t stop you from visiting the market (apples are available, as well as pies, cider donuts (!), baked goods, local honey, and srup) and animals (buffalo, llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats, deer, emus, cattle and birds) on the weekends! They also continue fall foliage hayrides on the weekends through the end of the month. Bands (banjos!) and freshly made kettle corn round out the fun.
451 Sport Hill Road
Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. April through December
Hand-washing stations are available for post-animal feeding, as are port-a-potties. To visit the animals: $6 for adults, $3 for childen ages 1-11. Hayrides: $5, under 2 years old: free!
What We Are Cooking
This yummy recipe is a favorite of Reeve in the Connecting Class. Thank you for sharing, Reeve! If your child is allergic to milk, substitute coconut milk yogurt or another alternative yogurt that’s safe for him/her.
With no flour, no butter and no oil, these banana oatmeal muffins with chocolate chips are made in the blender and are moist, healthy, and delicious!
Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 2 cups oats (quick cooking or old fashioned)
- 2 large very ripe bananas
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons honey*
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (I prefer aluminum free)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Up to 1/2 cup mix-ins: chocolate chips (mini or regular), chopped dark chocolate, nuts, dried cranberries, or blueberries (fresh or frozen and rinsed)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12-cup standard muffin tinor line with paper liners. If using liners, lightly grease them as well. Set aside.
- Place the all ingredients but the mix-ins in a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade: oats, bananas, eggs, Greek yogurt, honey, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend or process on high, stopping to scrape down and stir the ingredients once or twice as needed, until the batter is smooth and the oats have broken down almost completely, about 3 minutes. By hand, stir in the mix-ins. If the batter is warm from the appliance’s motor, the chocolate chips may melt and swirl as they are stirred. If this bothers you, let the batter cool for 10 minutes before adding them.
- Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling each no more than three-quarters of the way to the top. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips or nuts as desired. Bake for 15 minutes, until the tops of the muffins are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes. They will deflate but still taste delicious. Remove from the pan and enjoy!
- *Feel free to adjust the honey to your preferred sweetness. Two tablespoons was enough for me with the chocolate, but if you prefer a sweeter muffin, add more.
- Store leftover muffins according to my guide, How to Store Muffins, or wrap tightly in plastic and freeze for up to 2 months.
What We Are Watching
This is a fabulous show, featuring extraordinary chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Check out the trailer and enjoy the whole show on Netflix!
I love saving special paintings and drawings in a special memory folder for my daughter, but when you keep an easel up all the time, the everyday paint experiments can get overwhelming. If you want to encourage your child’s creativity but are concerned about the environment, consider “recycling” the everyday paintings by using them as wrapping paper! My daughter loves giving gifts that are wrapped in her special paper.