Best Orchards for Vermont Apple Picking
September 14, 2023
Vermont apple picking season is here in the Green Mountain State. Orchards around the state are ripe with McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Empire, and heirloom varieties that are ready for pick-your-own Vermont apple picking.
Vermont apple orchards also host events—including live music, yoga, festivals, and movie nights—and offer farm stands, scenic views and more. Here are seven Vermont apple orchards worth visiting this fall to add to your fall foliage season must-do list.
(*Please be aware that a severe frost in May 2023 damaged crops and pick-your-own is limited or not offered at a couple of orchards listed below. However, these orchards are open and welcome visitors to purchase apples and attend events).
Mad Tom Orchard in East Dorset
Mad Tom Orchard was planted in 1940 by the Parson Family. Now operated by Sylvia and Tom Smith, Mad Tom Orchard features 14 varieties, including McIntosh, Cortland, Gala, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious and Ginger Gold.
Mad Tom Orchard is a timeless, no-frills orchard with apples, maple syrup, cider and donuts—and some of the best scenic views you’ll find in southern Vermont. The orchard is dog friendly, too. (2615 Mad Tom Road, East Dorset; 802-366-8107; madtomorchard.com)
Hours: Apple picking quantities for 2023 will be limited due to the May 2023 freeze. The orchard will only be open for four weekends (no weekdays) on Sept. 9-10, Sept. 16-17, Sept. 23-24 and Sept. 30-Oct. 1. between 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Burtt’s Apple Orchard in Cabot
Burtt’s Apple Orchard, located on a former dairy and maple farm, has been offering pick-your-own Vermont apple picking since 2009. Featuring over 40 varieties of apples, Burtt’s includes everything from Honeycrisp to McIntosh to Snowsweet.
The orchard’s trees are grown by espalier, the horticultural and ancient agricultural practice of controlling woody plant growth by pruning and tying branches to a frame. Burtt’s includes cider donuts, a corn maze, activities and a playground flanked by scenic views of northern Washington County. (283A Cabot Plains Road, Cabot; 802-917-2614; burttsappleorchard.com)
Hours: Burtt’s is currently open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays) through Nov, 1, 2023. A new one-mile walking and biking trail will open in November.
Yates Family Orchard in Monkton
Yates Family Orchard includes 28 varieties of apples in an orchard originally planted in the 1930s on scenic Monkton Ridge. The orchard, located on a quiet dirt road near the Hinesburg-Monkton town line, was purchased by Jessika Yates and her husband, Steven, in 2008.
The orchard has expanded in recent years, and the property includes a farm stand with cider donuts, specialty products and more. Pick Honeycrisp, Honey Gold, Ozark Golds, Haralson and Northern Spy in the orchard. Be sure to indulge in the orchard’s signature dessert—the Dreamee—a hot, fresh cider donut topped with Vermont maple soft serve ice cream. (1074 Davis Road, Hinesburg; 802-373-7437; yatesfamilyorchard.com)
Hours: Open daily 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Events: Sunday morning yoga at the orchard is offered through Sangha Studio starting Oct. 1, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. Starting Sept. 17, 2023, enjoy live music on Sunday afternoons from 1-4 p.m.
Champlain Orchards in Shoreham
Champlain Orchards features over 220 acres of fruit trees that includes over 115 varieties of apples. Located in Addison County, the orchard harvests over 100,000 bushels of ecologically grown apples in a season. Champlain Orchards also produces hard cider, apple butter and maple syrup. (3597 VT-74 West, Shoreham; 802-897-2777: champlainorchards.com)
Hours: Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Tuesday.
Events: On Fridays through Oct. 6, 2023, the orchard hosts family-friendly movie nights in the cider garden, complete with caramel dipped apples and a popcorn machine.
Happy Valley Orchard in Middlebury
At Happy Valley Orchard, visitors can find apples, cider donuts, sweet corn, pumpkins, tomatoes and Mountain Mac Hard Cider. The orchard grows McIntosh, Empire, Cortland, Red Delicious apples, heirlooms and lesser-known varieties. (217 Quarry Road, Middlebury; 802-388-2411; facebook.com/happyvalleyvermont)
Hours: The orchard is open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Events: Happy Valley Orchard hosts free live music events, including Sister Speak and a comedy show on Sept. 15 from 5-9 p.m.; Tournesol on Sept. 23 from 4-7 p.m.; Green Heron on Sept. 29 from 4-7 p.m.; Tim Brick on Sept. 30 from 4-7 p.m.; Moon Hollow on Oct. 7 from 3-6 p.m.; Solstice and a comedy show on Oct. 14 from 3-8 p.m.; and Delta Sweet on Oct. 20 from 4-6 p.m. Follow the orchard’s Facebook page for updates.
Scott Farm Orchard in Dummerston
Located on the iconic Kipling Road in southeastern Vermont, Scott Farm Orchard grows more than 130 varieties of heirloom apples. On May 18, 2023, Scott Farm Orchard was severely impacted by the freeze. This year, the farm’s pick-your-own orchard is closed, however, the orchard sells apples at its farm stand and is hosting many festive events throughout the fall season.
Scott Farm Orchard is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been in active cultivation since 1791. The orchard is owned by The Landmark Trust USA, which also owns Rudyard Kipling’s house, Naulakha, next door. (707 Kipling Road, Dummerston; 802-579-1720; scottfarmvermont.com)
Hours: The Farm Market is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pippin’s Cafe is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., serving sandwiches, hard cider, cider and farm baked goods.
Events: Bal Folk dancing Sept. 17, 2023; Crêpe Night on Sept. 20, 2023; Orchard Aid Benefit Concert on. Oct. 1, 2023; Heirloom Apple Day Festival on Oct. 8, 2023; and a Harvest Dinner on Oct. 21, 2023.
Shelburne Orchards is a family-owned enterprise led by the legendary Nick Cowles, who was born on the property in 1950. The orchard, which his father purchased 70 years ago, began with 500 trees. It grew from 2,000 trees in the 1970s to over 8,000 trees today.
Pick-your-own varieties include Honey Crisp, Gala, McIntosh and more. The orchard’s farm store sells apples, donuts and Nick’s own Dead Bird apple brandy. (216 Orchard Road, Shelburne; 802-985-2753; shelburneorchards.com)
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays; noon to 5 p.m. on Mondays.
Events: Live in the Orchard Concert Series includes Charlie Scram on Sept. 16, 2023; Liz Buchanan kids’ songs and stories on Sept. 17, 2023; Hot Picking’ Party on Sept. 17 and Oct. 7, 2023; Queen City Cut Ups on Sept. 23 and Oct. 15, 2023; The Meatpackers on Sept. 28 and Oct. 5, 2022; Rowan on Sept. 24, 2023; Ringo Matsuri – Taiko in the Orchard on Sept. 30, 2023; Mayfly on Oct. 1, 2023; Brett Hughes Trio on Oct. 8, 2023; and many others.
-Nick Cowles, owner of Shelburne Orchards in Shelburne, Vermont.
Happy Vermont Podcast
Nick Cowles has spent most of his life at Shelburne Orchards, which his father purchased in the 1950s. Nick loved growing up at the orchard, but he didn’t expect to run the orchard as an adult. On this podcast episode of Happy Vermont, host Erica Houskeeper chats with Nick about apples, apple brandy, and how running the orchard changed his life for the better.