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. VisitNH.gov
offers information for visitors and www.agriculture.NH.gov
lists apple orchards and farmstands showcasing the bounty of
Several orchards focus on antique or
'antique' apple varieties that are not found in the average supermarket.
Among these are:
Poverty Lane Orchards, Lebanon www.povertylaneorchards.com
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 www.applecrest.com
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 www.gouldhill.com
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 www.applehillfarmnh.com
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 www.highhopesorchard.com
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.
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. www.historicnewengland.org.
76 Northwest Street, Portsmouth. Call 603-436-3205.
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