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Where can I taste that apple?

While we pride ourselves with our variety descriptions, there’s nothing like the real thing. No words can compare to the taste. Frequently I’m asked, “Where can I taste a ….?” Here are a few suggestions.

The best place to taste apples in Maine is the Great Maine Apple Day, Sunday, October 27, 2013 in Unity.

Visit the orchards near you. Call the Maine Dept of Ag at (207)287-3491, or visit them on-line at getrealmaine.com for a complete list of the orchards in Maine. Many have unusual varieties. Even one or two rare finds can be worth the trip. Below are a few orchards with wonderful collections. I’m sure there are others. Don’t be frustrated if you call and reach no one. Just go. By September most of them are open 6 or 7 days a week.
• Ricker Hill Orchards, Turner, Androscoggin County (207)225-5552, rickerhill.com. Organic apples and more, mostly modern varieties.
• Sweetser’s Apple Barrel and Orchards, Cumberland Center, Cumberland County (207)829-3074, maineapple.com. A great collection of 39 old and new varieties. Their pride and joy is an ancient Rolfe tree. Don’t miss it.
• Bailey’s Orchard, Whitefield, Lincoln County (207)549-7680, One of the largest collections of old varieties in the state. Pears, plums and crabapples, too.
• Lakeside Orchards, Manchester, Kennebec County (207)622-2479, lakesideorchards.com. Organic apples and a good collection of mostly new varieties.

• Maine-ly Apples, Dixmont, Penobscot County (207)234-2043, mainelyapples.com. A growing collection of old and new varieties.
• Rollins Orchard, Garland, Penobscot County (207)924-3504, A very good collection of over 20 unusual old varieties. Plums and pears, too.
• Sandy River Orchard, Mercer, Somerset County (207) 587-2563, sandyriverapples.com. Established in 1852 by the Fenton family. A huge collection of over 140 varieties, many old and unusual.
• The Apple Farm, Fairfield, Somerset County (207)453-7656, A great collection of unusual old and new varieties.
• Cayford Orchards, Skowhegan, Somerset County (207)474-5200, cayfordorchards.com. 57 varieties of tree fruit on a sixth-generation family farm.
Sewall’s Orchard, Lincolnville, Waldo County (207)763-3956, sewallorchard.com. Organic apples including some of the first disease-resistant releases.
• Dole’s Orchard, Limington, York County (207)793-4409, dolesorchard.com. Mix of old and new. They have two un-named varieties crossed by the late Maine plant breeder, Russell Bailey. Both are extremely rare, if not unique.

Other New England States:
I know a few orchards with good collections outside of Maine. If you know of any we should list, please let us know. An online search could direct you to an orchard nearby.
• Nashoba Valley Winery, Bolton, MA. (978)779-5521, www.nashobawinery.com. A large collection of old and new varieties.
• Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA (508)869-6111, towerhillbg.org. The best collection of historic varieties in New England. At last count, 119 all labeled in an arboretum-type setting. A great place to study the fruit. Usually for sale at a special event over Columbus Day weekend. Call ahead.
• Hutchins Farm, Concord, MA (978)369-2480, hutchinsfarm.com.Nice collection of old and mostly newer varieties.
• Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, MA (508)347-3362, osv.org. Apple days: October 5-6, 2013.
• Gould Hill Orchard, Contoocook, NH (603)746-3811, gouldhillfarm.com. Large collection of new and old varieties.
• Poverty Lane Orchards, Lebanon, NH (603)448-1511, povertylaneorchards.com. Likely the best collection of unusual dessert apples in New England. One of the largest collection of cider apples in the U.S. They have most the cider varieties we sell.
• Alyson’s Orchard, Walpole, NH (603)756-9800, alysonsorchard.com. Large collection of new and old varieties.

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