Most orchards let you "pick your own".
only are the prices better, but it makes for a fine day of
entertainment. $12 for a half-bushel is the cost at
Shelburne Farm in Stow. How much is a half bushel?
Well, a bushel of apples weighs 45-50 lb.
apples ripen by September. Different
varieties are ready to
pick at different intervals as the autumn progresses.
Because of their high sugar content, apples can remain on the
trees through mild frosts, down to about 20 degrees F. This means
in Massachusetts, pick-your-own usually continues until about
be picking drops from the ground, or picking reachable apples from
the trees. At Honey-Pot Hill Orchard, ladders are available
in some fields. The picker pictured here was high up on a
ladder in the tree.
A standard apple tree is 16-18 feet high.
Shelburne Farm, the owners have planted Dwarf apple trees to make
it easier to pick your own. These look just like regular
apple trees and the apples are just the same, in all the
varieties. But the trees are only 8 feet tall. The
root stock determines how large the tree will grow. Apple
trees live for about 60 years.
prosperous times, orchards find it difficult to hire enough
pickers to get the apples harvested. At Shelburne Farm,
teenagers can make earn some money by bringing in the dropped
apples and getting paid by the bushel.