Trees in Long Island's orchards are laden with apples for picking. Whether you favor sweet Golden Delicious or tart Granny Smith, there's one that will be the apple of your eye. Many orchards offer family-friendly activities for pre- or post-picking that range from wagon and hayrides to tours.
Most growers who offer u-pick are open seven days, but if the crop is "picked out," they may close for a day, so call to check or visit the Web sites listed before you head out.
The Milk Pail
1346 Montauk Hwy. and 732 Mecox Rd., Water Mill
Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (u-pick opens at 10 a.m. Sunday)
Cost: $26 for a 20-pound bag ( 1/2 bushel)
Jonamac, McIntosh, Zestar and Sansa and other snappy varieties are being picked right now. Peaches, home-baked goodies and cider also are available. Picking is off Mecox Road, the first road east of the stand on Montauk Highway. Dogs not allowed in the orchard.
Route 25, Aquebogue, and Manor Lane, Jamesport
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for u-pick
U-pick begins Sept. 20, with several varieties expected to be available for harvest this season (check Web site for specifics). Homemade pies are fresh-baked Wednesday through Sunday and cider doughnuts are made daily. You may get a chance to watch cider being made. Cider slushies are a cold treat after an afternoon of picking apples.
Wickham's Fruit Farm
Route 25, Cutchogue
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday
Cost: $20 a peck plus $1 entry fee per person
Besides choice u-pick apples (and peaches, for as long as they last), cider, preserves and freshly made doughnuts and pies are available. Other attractions include tours, wagon rides, bee observation and a picnicking area. Dogs allowed on leashes.
Seven Ponds Orchard
65 Seven Ponds Rd., Water Mill
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: $1.25 a pound
Dwarf apple trees are easy for kids to reach, and red Radio Flyer wagons are available for carting your apples back from the orchards - you'll find Ginger Gold, Gala, McIntosh, Macoun, Mutsu and Golden Delicious varieties. Enjoy a corn maze, hayrides and a picnic area. Besides apple picking, there's blackberry and raspberry picking (plus flowers and tomatoes as long as they last). Pies, jams, candy apples and other goodies are on sale.
Davis Peach Farm
Hulse Landing Road, north of Route 25A, Wading River
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
Cost: $1.30 a pound
Such varieties as Cortland, MacIntosh, Fuji and Gala are ready for picking. There's a hot- dog stand for famished pickers. No dogs or strollers.
812 Sound Ave., Wading River
Hours: Open every day 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost $1 a pound
Don't forget the cider
Jericho Cider Mill
73 Rte. 106, Jericho
When fresh apples are available by the bushel, someone's bound to be making cider. Jericho Cider Mill has been pressing apple cider since the 1800s in an old barn, where you can also find fresh apples, apple pies, crisps and other baked goods. It is expected to open later this week, when the first local apples are delivered.
For more u-pick information, go to pickyourown.org/nylongisland.htm.
A complete directory of orchards in the state as well as information about when apples ripen, health benefits of apples and recipes, can be found at nyapplecountry.com. Go to nycider.com for a directory of producers.
See a complete list of Long Island farm stands.