Two weeknds ago I went apple picking with some coworkers and had a fantastic time together getting bags full of apples. We went up to Russell Orchards in Ispwich as it is one of the closest places to go apple picking around Boston. It was my first time going there for apple picking (Price and I had been there for berry picking years ago). The day was beautiful and we had so much fun picking bags of varieties of apples.
Prior to my friends’ arrival I took part in a wine & cider tasting in their general store from their own winery. For $5 I sampled 2 hard ciders, 2 fruit wines, and received a branded glass. They sample different ciders and wines (11% alcohol)every week. This week they sampled their Apple Cider, Perry, Jostaberry, and Dry Blueberry.
Apple Cider- “A very sweet and fruity dessert cider, great with apple pie” … This was very enjoyable. I liked the sweet subtle flavor.
Perry- “A slightly sweet hard pear drink” … I wouldn’t have even guessed this was pear. It was lovely but was not very fruity, esp pear like.
Jostaberry- “The berry is a cross between the gooseberry and the black currant. This wine has a tart, fruity taste.” … I loved this red fruit wine. It was tart but not pucker inducing. I liked the flavors, specifically the currant flavor,
Dry Blueberry- “Similar to the Blueberry, except this wine is aged in French oak. Bold like a Cabernet with a subtle berry flavor” … I didn’t finish my sample of this, neither did the 2 women next to me. They must not have been a fan of the smokey flavor. Had it been described as smokey I would have not had it as I for like smokey flavors, esp wine. If you like very dry and smokey then this is a great wine for you.
I’m glad my coworker picked Russell Orchard as it was convenient to get to, packed full of apples, and was a beautiful place.
Beautiful, beautiful apples.
It’s hard to go wrong with acres of apples, but they organize their PYO (pick your own) fields well. Everything was labeled with clear signs on each end of the row. Having gone to other orchards that just use flags as boundaries I found that Russell’s fields were very easy to navigate.
The fields are a short walk from the entrance so they offer hayrides to get to and from the fields. We deicded not to do this as the lines was l-o-n-g but it looked like a lot of fun. Personally, I think you should walk to the fields and take the hayride back after you (and your kids) are tired from walking around and carring a bag of apples.
For $15 you get a peck sized bag, which holds about 10-12 lbs of apples. I wanted a wheel barrel full but that was not an option nor, I assume, in my budget. I stuck with only picking apples that were good for baking, which were Cortland, Empire, Jonagold, and Honeycrisp. Their chart was helpful for picking which apples were best for baking, sauce, dessert (eating??), and juice. Their site says that it is cash only for weekends and Monday holidays but they did accept debit cards by the general store. You just need to buy your bag there at the store instead of getting it at the orchards
Before we left I got a loaf of cinnamon bread that we enjoyed for breakfast the following week. While there were long lines for their cider donuts I did not get any. I much prefer cider donuts that are coated in cinnamon and sugar while they are fresh from the fryer. Russell makes a plain donut and I just can’t justify the calories on something I don’t love.
Gotta go get a pumpkin next, dontcha think?
143 Argilla Road
open 9-6 daily