School is back and fall is just around the corner, marking the start of some of New England’s favorite outdoor family activities – apple picking and pumpkin picking! Usually Labor Day marks the start of apple picking season here in Massachusetts, but this year, farms were reporting that crops were ready about 10 days earlier than normal.
What does that mean for MA residents? Well, if you’re still in summer mode – you may miss out on prime apple picking time! And not all varieties of apples ripen at the same time, so be sure to call the farm ahead if you have a favorite in mind.
(Looking for a farm near you? Check out the New England Apple Association site for a listing.)
We had a chance to get out on Labor Day and visit the Tougas Family Farm in Northborough, MA. We had taken Gavin pumpkin picking here last year so we were excited that he was big enough to enjoy apple picking this year. At Tougas, blueberries and raspberries were still being picked, but we opted for the wagon ride to the fields of apple trees.
First we picked apples and then we headed over to the peaches and nectarines. Gavin loved walking down the aisles of trees and picking fruit from their branches. We were able to point out the different colors and textures of the fruits with him too – and he especially loved rubbing the fuzzy peaches against his cheek and smelling their sweet smell!
After picking, we headed to the playground and then over to the barnyard area where Gavin got to see the pigs and pet and feed some goats. (Note: Mamas, don’t forget to bring some quarters to buy feed.) Then we washed up and headed to the farm kitchen to savor some of their yummy apple cider donuts. Tougas even gave us a free cookbook with ideas on freezing, canning, making jams and preserves and recipes for all the fruit you picked during your visit.
When we got home, we enjoyed the “fruits” of our labor with some yummy homemade desserts!
Here’s the It’s Learning Time recipe for Apple/Peach Crisp:
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ cup oats
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup flour
½ cup (1 stick) margarine/butter
In 9 x 9 pan, place apples and peaches (cored, peeled and sliced). Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl and mix together. Add in melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over apples and/peaches. Bake at 350° F until bubbly, about 30 min or so.
Where is your favorite place to go apple picking or pumpkin picking? Let us know by commenting below!