PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2014. While this post should still give you a great idea of the overall experience, it is also possible that it may contain some outdated information. Please be sure to check the Rogers Orchards website for the most current information, especially about things like hours and pricing.
Last weekend, Boo asked me if we could go apple picking. Great idea! I was definitely ready for fresh apples to snack on and a few pounds extra to make pies, cakes and all those other wonderful fall recipes that involve apples (I’m actually making this one from Whole Foods tonight).
Now, we have 3 wonderful orchards just down the road from us, and we love all of them. So which one do you think we went to? Trick question! Of course I couldn’t go somewhere we had been before. We had to go somewhere new so I could blog about it 🙂
And that’s how we ended up on our way to Rogers Orchards in Southington.
Since we’ve had children, I’ve realized the value of a somewhat significant car ride on the way to and from a destination. Extra time in the car is great for:
- Actually having a few minutes to carry on an adult conversation with hubby in the front seat since the kids are strapped into the back seat.
- A vehicle-induced snooze for the kiddos either on the way there or the way back to avoid a bad case of the crabbies.
- An instant way to extend an otherwise brief outing into an all-afternoon adventure.
- Extra entertainment. (Maybe it’s just my kids, but they love to be in the car and look out the windows. That’s like an activity all on its own!)
So these days, I’m usually looking for someplace to go that is not around the corner from me. And a 25-30 minute drive out to Southington was just perfect for this PYO adventure.
I had heard of Rogers Orchards before, but I knew very little. I was surprised to find out about the rich history of this family farm that dates back 200 years! (Yes, you read that right; 200!) And that made me even more excited to check it out.
I searched “Rogers Orchards” on my iPhone GPS, pulled up the directions from our home in Glastonbury, and everything was going swimmingly until I realized that we were actually on our way to the Rogers Orchards store, instead of the actual PYO orchard.
Oops. But fortunately, there were a lot of signs to help guide us in the right direction.
You still have to pay close attention though, because there are a lot of signs. And there is another farm (called Karabin Farms) that is also in this general vicinity, so you also need to remember where you are going 🙂
Based on this sign that we found (which for whatever reason I found hysterical), clearly many people besides us have also been a little ummm, confused.
Later, when I was doing some additional research for this post, I realized that Rogers Orchards actually has two locations in Southington. If anyone has been to the other one, please chime in and let us know what you think.
At this location, there is a spacious parking lot right next to the orchard. I love that I didn’t have to drag anything with me since the car was only steps away. Just the kiddos and the camera 🙂
We put the little guy in the BabyBjorn (wow, we are really pushing the weight limit on that one now; time to look into other options!). We did see some folks use strollers, and you certainly could if you don’t mind using a little extra elbow grease to muscle over the uneven ground. But a wearable baby carrier really allows your little one to get up close and check out the trees, so I’d recommend that if you can.
Bags are provided. In fact, they are required. Don’t try to bring your own containers. You can pick one up at that little red shed (that’s also where you’ll pay for the apples).
I always forget that I should get more than one bag when I’m picking more than one variety of apple. When I get home, I can never remember which one is which.
Rogers Orchards offers over 20 varieties of apples! But today, we were picking mostly Gala apples, as those are my favorite and my kids love them too. (Hint: Make sure you ask the cashier stand staff to point you in the direction of the apple variety you are hoping to pick; we totally missed the Jonamacs, which were across the street from the parking area. I had been hoping to snag some of those for a pie (oh well, guess we’ll just have to go back 🙂 ). Most of the trees are fairly small, which means that the fruit is low enough to the ground that you can pick it without ladders, step-stools, those funny-looking picking pole contraptions or anything else besides your own two hands.
And the kiddos can easily reach the apples too. I love that.
Such a pretty day for picking!
In case you need to make a pit stop, there is a porta-potty (complete with a sink) up next to the red barn, which is just up from the parking area.
When we were finished picking (before we knew it, we already had 10 pounds!), we paid for our fruity loot (credit cards are accepted but there is a $5 minimum) and decided to head back to the store for some fall goodies like homemade cider doughnuts and fresh-pressed apple cider.
Back down the road at the store (which was the original sales room for the farm dating back to 1809! How cool!), we parked across the street in the large parking lot (there are also a few spaces right in front), and got the little guy into his stroller.
The street running between the store and the parking lot is busy. And the cars are going at a pretty decent clip.
If you have a few little ones, especially if you are on your own, you may want to just put them in the stroller so you can wheel them across the street stress-free.
The store is huge, and it’s filled with so many amazing products. There are far too many to list out here. You’ll just have to check it out for yourself!
Boo found the pie case almost immediately. This kid has like, pie radar or something. Given a choice, however, he opted for the cider doughnuts.
I thought this was cute. Cups of cider for 50 cents (there’s a metal box to insert the money into and everything–it’s like a distant relative of the modern soda machine 🙂 )
After taking in all our options, we decided to purchase some cider donuts, a half gallon of cider, and a couple of really beautiful beets (roasted beets are my favorite; mmmm).
Back outside, Boo took a peek in the rabbit hutch.
We were a little sad that we didn’t see anywhere nearby to sit and have our snack (I’d been hoping for a picnic table or something), but the donuts tasted just as good in the car.
A few minutes later, the kids were already snoozing. Did I mention how much I love car rides these days? 😉
Overall, this was a wonderful, low-key apple picking activity with the bonus of a fabulous farm store visit thrown in for a little treat. No big lines, no overwhelming crowds, no fighting for parking spaces–just delicious fruit and a delightful afternoon spent with the family.
336 Long Bottom Road Southington, Connecticut (The location we visited; this address is for the store, but once you get there you can then follow the signs to the PYO location.)
Phone: (860) 229-4240
Phone: (203) 879-1206
Home Farm Salesroom (the farm store we visited):
- Open daily 8am – 6pm
Sunnymount Salesroom (the other location):
- Open daily 9am – 6pm
Home Farm Orchard (PYO Apples):
- Early September to Late October; Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10am-5pm, weather permitting (call 860-229-4240 for more info and updates).
Parking is FREE
PYO apples are $1.50/lb for all varieties (2014)
- Stroller Friendly: PYO: sort-of, but a wearable baby carrier would be better. Store: YES.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES. (Hey, some of us need to take our coffee everywhere)
- Restroom: YES. Porta potty near the barn at the PYO location. (Sorry- I was so distracted by the thought of sampling those cider donuts that I completely forgot to check the store for a restroom!)
- Baby Changing Station: I did not see one.
- Parking: YES.
- Food for Sale: Well, it is a food store, so there are plenty of yummy things to eat for sale. But no real ready-to-eat food like a hamburger or something.
- Outside Food Allowed: I don’t see why not. But there really isn’t anywhere to have a picnic or anything.
- Cash Required: NO. Credit cards are accepted at the PYO location ($5 minimum charge) and at the store. Although, if you would like a self-serve cup of cider at the store, that’s 50 cents cash.
- Dress Code: Nothin’ special. But the grass in the orchard was a little long, in case that affects your wardrobe or footwear choices.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES. PYO is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and the store is open daily (including Saturday & Sunday) and until 6pm.
- 4D Vision Gym – A vision training center located in Cromwell, CT where Dr. Juanita Collier, MS, OD and her staff show members how to utilize Vision Therapy to correct visual issues and make learning and playing easier and more fun.
- Imagine Studio – Under the direction of Karla Kress-Boyle, opening this fall at 97 South Street is West Hartford’s only Creative Arts Studio. Focusing on building imagination and self confidence, our wonderful staff will be sharing their talents in Dance, Art, Music, Yoga and Theater programming.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
- NEW Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT., welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
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