It always throws me for a loop to see the first fall apples appear among the last of the summer stone fruits at our farmers’ market in Rhode Island. Apples and peaches belong to two distinctly separate seasons in my mind…and yet, there is no denying the way fall creeps in, pushing the last remaining summer days along their merry way.
Despite the fact that fall leads us into winter, which is not for the faint of heart here in New England, it is a season of beauty: changing leaves, apple picking, hay rides. and pumpkin carving. Our family loves to welcome fall with a visit to our favorite Rhode Island U-Pick orchard, Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown.
Photography by Christine Chitnis for Gardenista.
Above: We make a day of it, driving through the beautiful farmland, stopping at beaches, and finally making our way to the farm to grab lunch from the farm stand.
Above: Then we head out to the fields to fill our baskets with every variety of apple imaginable.
Above: Sweet Berry Farm is in Middletown, Rhode Island (about a 45-minute drive south from Providence.
Above: The season begins with “summer apple” varieties such as McIntosh, Ginger Gold and Gala, and continues through late October with favorites such as Honeycrisp, Cameo, Ida Red and a host of others.
Above: While apple picking is normally difficult for young children given the height of the trees, the trees at Sweet Berry Farm are grafted low to the ground to allow little ones to reach the apples.
Above: The effect is visually stunning, with apples growing from the grass and reaching towards the sky.
Above: In addition to apples, Sweet Berry Farm offers a variety of U-Pick options throughout the growing season, as well as cut flower bouquets and a bustling market stand with prepared food and locally made ice cream.
Sweet Berry Farm practices Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), which ensures food safety and Integrated Pest Management. These practices involve many biological techniques which allow the farm to be low to no spray. In fact, the majority of their crops are pesticide free, which makes this an even smarter visit for families.
Above: While we pay our first visit in September, we’re sure to return throughout October to pick pumpkins and late fall apple varieties.
Above: On our way home from Sweet Berry Farm, we always pay a visit to Simmons Farm (also in Middletown). where the kids can pet and feed sheep, horses, goats, ducks and chickens.
Above: For hours, driving directions, and more information, see Sweet Berry Farm.
Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for apple trees with our Apple Tree: A Field Guide.
Interested in other types of trees? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various trees (specimen, deciduous, evergreen) with our Trees: A Field Guide.
Interested in other edible plants for your garden? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various edible plants (including flowers, herbs and vegetables) with our Edible Plants: A Field Guide.