New York City, NY

This PYO Apple Picking Farm Shows Up on Every “Best” NYC List

applesMelissa Toldy

Today is the first day of fall. For many New Yorkers, this means the beginning of apple picking season. Years ago, I was living with two roommates in Brooklyn. One autumn weekend, I came home to a kitchen full of apples.

One roommate had gone apple picking at a nearby farm upstate. The other roommate saw this abundance of apples and decided to help herself to a few. The apple-picking roommate got very upset about her freshly-picked apples being eaten without her permission.

To make amends, my other roommate replenished the apple stock with ones she bought at the local grocery store. However, the peace offering was fruitless (haha). But seriously, I don’t think the apple-picking roommate ever forgave the apple-stealing roommate.

I’m remembering this tiff between my once-roommates because I’m considering an apple picking trip this season. The main question is: Where do I go to pick apples? Ideally, the farm would be relatively close. (No more than a 2-hour drive.)

Looking at the “best apple picking spots near New York City” search results online, I keep seeing the same farm show up on every list. It’s called Fishkill Farms, and this year, like last year, they are requiring reservations to accommodate social distancing.

What makes this farm so special? After all, there are at least 108 other pick-your-own apple farms in Upstate New York. Why does Fishkill Farms show up on everyone’s “best” list?

A few possible reasons: (1) Fishkill Farms has been around for a long time; several lists mention that the farm is family-run, dating back more than a century. (2) Fishkill Farms specializes in organic varieties of apples, with most of their 270-acre land devoted to eco-friendly growing practices. (3) Fishkill Farms offers a scenic view of the Catskill Mountains, as seen from their Treasury Cider Bar.

It all sounds good to me. The only thing is, I don’t really want to drive a car. Ever. Anywhere. Can I still go apple picking without a car? Actually, yes. Getting to Fishkill Farms by public transit is fairly easy. You take the Metro-North Hudson Line to the Beacon Train Station, just like if you were visiting Dia:Beacon. Then you would simply hop in a cab for a short ride to the farm.

What do you think? Does this sound like a good plan? The thing is, it’s not really about the apples, is it? If I desperately wanted apples sourced from Fishkill Farms, I could visit the Carroll Gardens Greenmarket on a Sunday afternoon, at my leisure. From what I understand (because, hey, I have never been apple picking in New York before), the joy comes from spending time in the orchards. Or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself. Because if I do end up taking the train to go apple picking, I’m not planning on lugging an entire bushel back with me.

I still don't understand why my roommates fought over those apples all those years ago. For the apple-picking roommate, she already got what she wanted from the experience: a day in the orchards. For the apple-stealing roommate, well, I guess she should have asked first. It's in the name, after all. Pick your own.

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