Embrace fall with an apple-picking visit to Peck & Bushel’s organic orchard in Washington County.
Why apple-picking at this orchard should be on your autumn bucket list
Ashort path surrounded by a forest of oak, cherry and maple leads to rows and rows of verdant trees lush with green and red-tinted fruit. A plastic bag folded under my arm, I pass rows with wooden signs designating the variety of apple – Sweet Sixteen, Honeycrisp, Macoun and more than a dozen more. I hear distant voices and follow them to the row of apples I’ve come to pick at charming Peck & Bushel Fruit Co. in Colgate, a community west of Germantown in Washington County.
The 8-year-old organic orchard, which has grown from 3,000 trees in its first year to nearly 30,000 trees now, is the brainchild of Joe and Jennifer Fahey. Joe’s entry to orcharding started in the Faheys’ own backyard, with trees he planted and tended as a hobby. There, he worked through the challenges of organic fruit production (humid summers, insects), but he faced them in a larger scope when they bought the Colgate property.
Joe serves as full-time orchardist, aided by the extended Fahey family, members of which you’ll see serving warm, sugar-coated cider doughnuts and making caramel apples when the orchard is open (Sat-Sun only, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.). Jennifer’s touch is evident throughout the orchard’s modern-meets-rustic barn, where she spent a recent Saturday morning pouring samples of tart-sweet cider made with late-summer Williams’ Pride apples.
Bags of picked apples are offered for sale in the barn, along with honeys (some from Peck & Bushel’s bees), apple butter, jams, candles and decorative gift items. Buying pre-bagged apples is convenient, but it doesn’t compare to drinking in the fresh, naturally perfumed air and tramping through the orchard rows, plucking fruit off the branches. And don’t miss the on-site bakery’s flaky slab apple pie, apple-walnut bars and wonderful light cake doughnuts.
Pick-your-own: $28 per peck for 2018. Open through mid- to late October, (5454 County Road Q; 414-4180336)