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Autumn in New England means apples are ripe for picking and eating!

Local orchards that produce apples, peaches and plums, invite families to visit their orchards of fragrant fruit trees and “pick-your-own” apples.

With many varieties to choose from, not all are harvested at the same time so it’s best to call ahead or visit websites listed below. Freshly pressed cider, homemade cider doughnuts, apple crisp and honey are available at several orchards.

How to pick: Select bruise free apples that are crisp and firm and when picking, roll the apple upwards off the branch giving it a little twist so as careful not to pull it away from the tree. Store picked apples in a cool dark place.

PYO apple orchards:

Autumn Hill Orchards

495 Chicopee Row, Groton, MA 01450

www.autumnhillsorchard.com

978-448-8388

Open: Through October; weekends and holidays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekdays by appointment.

Directions: From Groton Center, right on Hollis Street and continue straight pass the cemetery on your right. Note: Hollis Street changes name to Chicopee Row. When you pass Watson Way on left, look for “Autumn Hills” sign on left.

PYO with spectacular vistas from the hilltop orchard. Picnic tables; gourmet picnic lunches; apple tastings; tours by reservation.

Apples (20 varieties); pears, plums.

Kimball Fruit Farms

184 Hollis St. (Route 122), Pepperell, MA 01463

www.kimballfruitfarm.com

978-433-9751

Open: 7 days, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., pick your own September through October.

Directions: Exit 5 west off Route 3, north to Route 111 into Pepperell, take a right at yellow blinking light, farm is 3 miles on left.

Apples (38 varieties); peaches, berries, pumpkins and a variety of vegetables.

Doe Orchards

327 Ayer Road, Route 110/111, Harvard, MA 01451

www.doeorchards.com

978-772-4139

Open: Through October, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week.

Directions: Route 2 West to Route 110/111, exit 38B. Go one-fifth mile north of exit on left. Watch for signs.

Apples: McIntosh, Cortland, Delicious, Empire, Macoun; cider, honey, pumpkins.

Carlson Orchards

115 Oak Hill Road, Harvard, MA 01451

www.carlsonorchards.com

978-456-3916

Open: PYO hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 7 days a week; retail hours Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Directions: From Ayer rotary, take Route 110 north, turn left at Poor Farm Road, follow signs, 2.5 miles. From Route 495 take exit 28 to Route 111 toward Harvard. one-quarter mile, follow signs.

Apples (14 varieties), peaches, nectarines, cider, honey, apple pies and crisp, cider doughnuts, jams and jellies.

Westward Orchards

178 Mass Ave., Route 111, Harvard, MA 01451

www.westwardorchards.com

978-456-8363

Open: Through Oct.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesday), lunch served daily 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and breakfast weekends 9-11 a.m.

Directions: Route 2 east, exit 38A, Route 110/111 Harvard exit. Follow Route 111, after the public schools stay left on Route 111, big red barn on the right.

Apples, pears, plums, nectarines, vegetables, apple cider doughnuts, caramel apples and pies, pumpkins and live bluegrass music Sundays 1:30-4:30 p.m.).

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