Is it even fall if you don’t drive upstate for the sole-purpose of overindulging in apple products?
Applewood Winery is located in Warwick, NY and is a little over an hour and a half drive from New York City. While we’ve spent the last four years or so frequenting the same apple orchard (shoutout to Wilken’s Fruit and Fir Farm), we figured it was time for a change of pace. A quick Google search yielded a dozen results, but we quickly narrowed it down to two locations within a fifteen-minute drive from each other: Apple Ridge Orchards and Apple Dave’s Orchards.
I had a good feeling about Apple Ridge from the moment we pulled up aside it and were told that while the lot was completely full we could park along the side of the road to our left, down a grassy hill of residences.
A) A packed lot, I assumed, meant this was a popular and thus worth-visiting location.
B) Despite the packed lot, we were given directions to an alternative spot for parking which was only a two-minute walk away from the orchard.
C) This place must be filled with some friendly people, because have you ever attempted parking outside someone’s house in a back in the city?
Apple Ridge Orchard’s screams “family fun”, though the bright, sunny day may have played a large hand in that. The decor consisted of scarecrows, crates of pumpkins, potted flowers, and a coop of chickens. I won’t lie, I was way more excited than some of the kids about the dozen chickens available for watching. But the major win was the number of apples still available for the picking! While I’ve found some orchards to be rather scarce outside of a two-week window in September, and others ravished by bird-nibbles or apples that looked as if they would turn to mush any second, Apple Ridge has acres of every variety in perfect condition.
My friend and I noted how quickly we were able to fill our 1/2 bushel bag, not with one but three different varieties. For the record, one bag is totally adequate to split between 2-3 people. While at first we were taken aback by the $30 per bag price, a bit steeper than what we’ve experienced at other orchards, we quickly realized we’d be able to fill this bag with way more than we typically do.
Little update: one bag fit enough apples for both of us to make a pie and have a little under a dozen leftover.
Of course, being adults (and I use that term lightly) we were excited to get over to Apple Dave’s Orchards, due in a large part to it being home to Applewood Winery.
Apple Dave’s Orchard is also in Warwick, NY and is a quick drive from Apple Ridge. If you happen to be traveling with a family of both adults and children, or just prefer to have various experiences in one trip, these two spots are super easy to hit together.
There are a variety of options in terms of ciders, wines, and brews, but we settled on two ciders to try: The Applewoody, a pumpkin hard cider with Apple Jack and cinnamon; and Naked Flock Currant Hard Cider, which is made with tart currents from the Hudson Valley.
What I loved about the Applewoody was how the pumpkin flavor came through more as an aftertaste as opposed to an overwhelming pumpkin taste that I’m not often fond of in beverages. Similarly, the Currant cider had a mildly sweet taste that you’d expect but was counterbalanced by the tart currants. Both options were incredibly smooth, and I’d have a difficult time choosing which I enjoyed more.
What goes best with a cider tasting? According to Apple Dave’s Orchard/Applewood Winery, it’s pizza.
I was very wary of trying the pizza here, mainly because being from New York City means that I’m a total pizza snob. I also noticed as they were being removed from the oven that the crusts were way thinner than I was used to, and all I could picture was the flabby-like consistency of an Ellio’s.
But thankfully the thin crust was not only cooked perfectly and held up to the cheese and ingredients, but it was pretty dang tasty. Was it mind-blowing? No. Does it compete with legitimate pizza establishments back in the city? Not even close. But it was decently delicious and worked as the perfect accompaniment to our cider.
The Applewood Market is not different from many other orchard markets, which is not an insult in any way. I wait around all year to visit these markets and often come home with bags of butters, jams, and pastry mixes. But don’t worry about doing a little shopping; the prices are totally reasonable and everything is fresh, delicious, and free of all those additives you’ll find in most supermarkets. For granola lovers, I highly recommend grabbing a bag of Chocolate Cranberry Granola if you happen to stop by.
But of course, we all know the main reason for visiting an apple orchard.
The apple cider donuts.
This line was long. I’m talking 30 minute wait long. As in the baker had to come out and announce that there were only 500 donuts left and he couldn’t guarantee us all that we’d be able to get our hands on some deliciousness. Well, I’m sorry for those who missed out, but fortunately for us, we were able to get our hands on a dozen.
Naturally, we devoured most before even getting back to the car.
We strolled a bit, and made a in the distillery to grab some cider to bring back; and if we hadn’t arrived so late we probably could’ve spent another hour just enjoying the surroundings.
New York State is pretty popular when it comes to pick-your-own orchards, but I’d definitely look into Apple Ridge Orchards and Apple Dave’s Orchards should you be overwhelmed by choices.
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