New Hampshire Polishes Up Crop of Antique Apples

New Hampshire (August 2005) -- According to the University of New Hampshire, the 2,700 farms in New Hampshire managing over 460,000 acres contribute nearly $300 million to the state's economy. Apples are a key component. The 2100 acres of apple orchards in the state produced 738,000 bushels of apples in 2004, valued at $8.7 million. [Source: USDA].

There's even an official New Hampshire Scenic Byways for orchards: the 10-mile Apple Way that winds through Londonderry and is sprinkled with old schoolhouses, antique homesteads, and magnificent orchards. But visitors will find pick-your-own apples, fresh-pressed cider and apple festivals all over the state. offers information for visitors and lists apple orchards and farmstands showcasing the bounty of the harvest.

Several orchards focus on antique or 'antique' apple varieties that are not found in the average supermarket. Among these are:

Poverty Lane Orchards, Lebanon
Note: website has photos of different antique varieties.
Steve Wood and his wife, Louisa Spencer grow and sell antique apples with names like Ashmead's Kernel, Pomme Grise, Hudson's Golden Gem and Thomas Jefferson's favorite apple, Esopus Spitzenberg was grown at Monticello when the variety was quite new. It originated in the mid-1700s. Pick-Your-Own starts in early September with tart, rock-hard McIntosh and Cortland on the trees. Sweet cider pressing begins a week or two into September, when the apples sugar up enough. A week into October, an amazing number of different varieties, from familiar to very rare, will be ready for the orchard's antique apple tastings. On weekends with good weather the orchard can tote people into the further fields by wagon. (Some people like just to sit on the wagon and travel back and forth -- no charge.) There are picnic tables, fresh air, views of the Connecticut River valley and plenty of space to run around with a tall fence around the whole place to keep kids and friendly dogs in. Poverty Lane also grows what they call "certain nasty-tasting apples, on purpose, that are vintage cider varieties to be pressed and fermented into traditional, wine-like Farnum Hill Ciders." Call 603-448-1511

Applecrest Farm, Hampton Falls. Oldest and largest apple orchard in New Hampshire
Harvest Days, October
Year-round family owned orchards with 300 acres. First apple tree was planted in 1913. Operated by the Wagner family since 1954, it now has over 20,000 apple trees producing 100,000 bushels of forty different varieties: Gravenstein, Paula Red, McIntosh, Cortland, Macoun, Empire, Mutsu, Ida Red, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Melrose, Northern Spy, Rome Beauty, Baldwin and in limited quantities: Russet, Rhode Island Greening, Wageners, Pick your own and already picked available at farmstands. Free festival on fall weekends with live music and food. Applecrest Farm, Route 88. Hampton Falls. Call 603-926-3721

Gould Hill Orchards, Contoocook
A 200 year-old family-owned and operated farm, we grow over 85 varieties of apples (Ashmead Kernel, August Sweet, Blue Pearmain, Cox Orange Pippin, Granite Beauty, Gravenstein, Hubbardston Nonesuch, Ozark Gold, Pomme Grise, Porter, Rhode Island Greening, Sheepnose, Snow, Winesap) on nearly 100 acres of prime hilltop farm land affords both prime apple growing land and spectacular views, stretching 75 miles from south-central
New Hampshire to the White Mountains. Also produce their own fresh sweet cider. Their Little Nature Museum in the 220-year-old historic barn offers collections of fossils, rocks, minerals, shells; mounted birds, insects, wildlife; interpretive and changing exhibits. Guided nature trail walks in the orchards, forests, fields, and streams. Call 603-46-3811.

DeMerritt Hill Farm, Lee
25 varieties of apples. Mule-drawn apple-picking hayrides into the orchard. Supplies apples to cider mill that sells cider at Barker Farm Stand, Route 33, Stratham. Call 603-868-7587.



Apple Hill Farm, Concord
24 varieties of uncommon, common and new varieties of NH apples. Hard and sweet cider.
Picking schedule: August = Jersey Mac, Paula Red, Ginger Gold, Gravenstein. September = McIntosh, Cortland, Honey Crisp, Macoun, Pomme Grise, Jonathon, Gala. October = Empire, Hampshire, Golden Delicious, Northern Spy, Crispin, Fuji, Baldwin, Russett, Hudsons Golden Gem, Calville deBlanc, Tomkins County King, Esopus Spitzenburg, Lady Apples. Call 603-224-8862.

High Hopes Orchard, Westmoreland
Pick your own Macintosh & Ginger Gold, Aug 21 through Sept; Cortland, Sept 18 through Oct; and Empire, Sept 25 through Oct. There is a free wagon ride to the orchard every day. Call for availability of: Early Mac, Paula Red, Macoun, Jonagold & Honey Crisp. Farm Adventures entertainment park with merry-go-round, animals to pet in Enchanted Orchard, thru Oct. Call 603-599-4305.

In addition:

The colonial-era Jackson House (c. 1664) in Portsmouth at 76 Northwest Street, maintains a small, 2-acre orchard of 8 different varieties of apples popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. A member of Historic New England (formerly Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities) the house focuses on its apples on the September 10th this year with "Jackson Hill Cider Day" from noon to 4pm. Visitors will enjoy cider, aged cheddar cheese, warm slices of apple pie baked on the premises and a demonstration of hand-operated cider press. The post-medieval style Jackson House is also open for guided tours. Admission: $6 for adults and $3 for children. Historic New England/SPNEA members, free. 76 Northwest Street, Portsmouth. Call 603-436-3205.


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