One of Hamilton’s greatest advantages is its proximity to agriculture and green space and having access to all of the rewarding activities associated with them.
With Autumn already making its presence known, one’s mind can’t help but search for ways to enjoy the great outdoors that’s in our own backyards but in a way that is safe and accessible in the era of COVID-19.
This past weekend, in an effort to get our young children outside following a week of cool temperatures and gray skies, we looked into apple picking.
There are a ton of places in and around Hamilton open for the pick-your-own experience and for anyone looking to support local, enjoy the outdoors and indulge in Autumn’s bounty in a safe, physically distant way. (EDs Note for parents: This was a great teachable experience for our young children and they burned a lot of energy and ate a ton of healthy apples!)
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Here are five Hamilton-area farms currently open for apple picking. Be sure to bring masks because some parts of the farm will require patrons to wear them.
5. The Apple Orchard
This gorgeous family farm just off Highway 6 near Freelton, offers a vast selection of pick-your-own apples (28 varieties, many of which you won’t find elsewhere) and family-friendly seasonal activities. Visitors are invited to explore the property and its walking trails and visit with the orchard’s animal residents. They are still offering wagon rides where masks are mandatory and masks are recommended throughout the property.
4. Fletcher Fruit Farms
This Binbrook farm does not open for pick-your-own until the first week of October (and then, they will only be open for pick your own on weekends). It makes the list for its convenient location so close to the city and because it’s a beautiful property that boasts a bounty of more than 20 varieties of apples and seven kinds of pears. There is a small market that sells some of the farm’s produce alongside other products like honey, maple syrup and cider.
3. Carluke Orchards
This picturesque, family-owned orchard grows 13 varieties of apples. They also have a lovely little bakery that sells an vast selection of sweet treats, most notably pies, muffins and cookies. Carluke, like all of the farms on this list, have taken precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including requiring masks, pre-paid bags so pickings won’t have to be weighed, and sanitization stations. This year they are not offering tractor pulled wagon rides due to the virus.
2. Puddicombe Farms
Puddicombe is practically an institution in Hamilton. They have been a favourite for local families as a special destination for fresh produce and a unique agricultural experience. Their train is a spectacular attraction and this year it’s still chugging along but visitors are asked to make an appointment to ride to prevent line-ups. They offer a vast selection of apples throughout the Fall. Masks and gloves are mandatory during pick-your-own seasons, the farm’s website says.
1. Myers Apple Farm
This beautiful and vast orchard is located in Copetown and is, in fact, where we picked our pile of apples recently. The selection here was somewhat overwhelming but in a good way. We ended up picking Zestars (which was new to us), ginger gold and Paula red. It was a very busy place but there was so much space to spread out that physical distancing wasn’t a problem.