A few months ago you may remember my post on PYO peaches at Belltown Hill Orchards in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Well, on that visit I also got a tip that apple picking season would come early this year. And indeed it has. So two weekends ago we ventured back to Belltown Hill Orchards to sample their apple crop and, more importantly, those famous apple fritters. It was a little funny to be picking a fall fruit like apples weeks before the end of summer, but that didn’t make them (or the fritters) any less delicious!
I covered most of the ins and outs of Belltown Hill Orchards in my previous post, including an overview of their wonderful farm store, so I won’t go into all those details again here. But I will pause for a moment to remind everyone that when you turn into the Belltown Hill property from Matson Hill Road, be sure to drive past the first parking area outside the store and up the road to the picking areas. It is marked by signs, but they can be hard to see from a distance. And nothing ruins a fun outing quite like unpacking all your antsy kids and your excessive gear, only to realize you have to wrestle everything and everyone right back into the car.
Turn in at the sign.
If you are coming to pick, DO NOT park here (park here for the store only).
Drive through the open gate at the far end of this parking area, and follow the signs up to the picking area.
At the end of the road you will find this large parking area.
Once you park, head toward that wooden shed. That’s where you’ll find all the action, including the picking containers, the wagon stop, the checkout, and (seasonally) the Hungry Harvester snack bar.
There are plastic bag-lined buckets and smaller plastic bags available to use as picking containers. I suggest that you take one of those giant buckets even if you don’t intend to pick that many apples just because it is so much easier to tote the bucket around on your picking adventures. For starters, the apples won’t spill out when you set it down.
Despite my many warnings about how annoying I can be when I am covering an outing for the blog (really Shawna? You need another picture of that porta potty?), some brave friends decided to join us that day with their 3-year-old son. Buckets in hand, we all piled into the tractor-pulled wagon for the short ride out to the apple trees.
There is plenty of room for bags, buckets, and any other gear you might be toting. We even saw someone bring a stroller on the wagon. No joke!
The wagon makes several stops at different varieties of apple trees. You simply hop off where you want to pick, and then hop back on the next wagon to continue along. All the apples are the same price per pound, so you can just toss them all in the same bucket. There will be a staff member at each stop who will direct you to the rows where you can pick.
We started at the Macintosh apples.
They were delicious. If you don’t believe me, just ask Boo.
We were absentmindedly waiting for the wagon when we realized that the next stop, Gala and Ginger Gold apples, was just a short walk up the hill. So we hoofed it.
If I didn’t know it before our little apple picking excursion, I can confirm it now: Gala is definitely my favorite kind of apple.
We hopped back on the wagon en route to our last stop: the fabled Honeycrisp. People go gaga over these engineered apples born at The University of Minnesota. I can’t say I’m a huge fan (did I mention how much I love the Galas?), but it’s definitely one of those times when you have to try them just so that you can weigh in during the next heated Honeycrisp debate you find yourself a part of 🙂
This area is quite scenic too.
Having almost filled our buckets, which seemed so giant and bottomless when we started out, we decided it was time to head back to the shed and peruse the food options.
Before going into the shed to pay for the apples, we stopped for a quick photo opp.
It’s very easy to weigh and pay for your pickings. Just plop your bucket up on the counter and they’ll take care of the rest. They even accept credit cards.
Mmmm. Just look at those fritters. I hate to play favorites, but these might be the best I’ve had yet. Boo certainly enjoyed them.
But the big surprise was the chicken fingers. Those were super!
After lunch, we let the boys run around near the picnic area for a bit and nabbed a few more cute photos.
Then it was time to pack up and head home.
So what did I do with those 10 lbs of apples we picked? I’m glad you asked! Well, a whole mess of them went into a recipe for slow cooker apple crisp that I had been wanting to make. If you find yourself with too many apples, this is definitely one to try. It’s super easy, and the kids loved it. Plus, if you use one of those slow cooker liners, you don’t even have to clean up! (P.S. add 1/2 cup of dry oats like some of the commenters suggest–delicious!)
Just don’t delay, because the word is that an apple season that starts early, ends early.
Belltown Hill Orchards
483 Matson Hill Road, South Glastonbury, Connecticut
Get directions here:
Pick Your Own Hours:
PYO apples are weekends only from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Click here to see the most current picking schedule.
Farm Market & Bakery Hours:
June – October: Monday-Friday: 9:00 am-6:00 pm; Saturday & Sunday 8:00 am-6:00 pm
November – December: Daily: 9:00 am-5:00 pm
January: Friday-Sunday:10:00 am-4:00 pm
(Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25th & 26th, January 1st)
Click here for the most up-to-date schedule.
The Hungry Harvester Concession Stand:
Opens Labor Day weekend and stays open every weekend through the end of October, including Columbus Day. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- See my previous post for more details about Belltown Hill Orchards.
- Be sure to check their Facebook page for the most up-to-date picking schedules and information.
- Credit cards accepted at the apple checkout, Hungry Harvester, and the farm store.
- Free picking containers available for use.
- A wagon ride is necessary to get to the apple picking areas.
- Bring your camera for cute photo opps!
- Restroom: porta-potty by the farm store and also in the parking area up by the picking shed (no changing station).
- For more great apple picking destinations check out our adventures at Scott’s Orchard in Glastonbury, Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, and this list of places in Fairfield County.
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