U-Pick Apples at Soons Orchards FAQ

The best picker is an informed picker! (hint hint!)

Oct 20 2022-
U-Pick Apple Update:

Our orchard is officially “closed” because we lack the popular apples at this point in this difficult season. Nonetheless we will open the gate and greet those who love Empire apples, which we do have in abundance and those who bring a sense of adventure and are willing to seek out our more esoteric and limited offerings, including Grimes Golden, Spitzenberg, Ashmead's Kernel, Golden Russet (a few), King David, and Sheep's Nose

Where is the orchard for apple picking?
Our U-Pick orchard is around the corner from our store in New Hampton NY, about 65 miles from the GWB and 15 miles from the NJ/PA border, in Orange County New York – use GPS address: 634 County Route 50, New Hampton NY 10958.

When can we pick apples?
Once we open U-pick Labor Day weekend, apple picking will be open 10-4 each weekend plus holiday Mondays.
We will be open weekends until there’s not enough apples available; 2022 is a small crop, so we may not make it past Columbus Day, but we won't know til we get there.
Please arrive by 3:30 so you have time to pick.

What does it cost? Do I need to reserve a time?

Reservations not required right now, we will probably offer them for the busy October weekends to help reduce slow downs at the gate. 
A small per-person charge (suspended at the moment) + a bag price ; you can buy as many bags as you like, but cannot bring your own. 2022 bags are $20 peck/$30 half bushel.
We do not charge for parking; we do appreciate car-pooling during the busy mid-sept to mid-oct season

 

Is there a minimum amount to pick/bags to get for my group?
The smallest bag is 8 quarts, aka a "peck," about 10lbs. We also offer half bushel bags, about 20lbs. For larger groups, we require purchase of one half bushel per 5 people. 

What’s ready to pick this weekend?
Each weekend there are apple varieties that are ready to pick. (And others that are not!) We will let you know what's ready & where. See the apple variety forecast by weekend here 

What apples should we pick?
The ripe ones, please! Pick in the designated ready rows; we open new rows every week, but note, not all apples are necessarily mature in those new rows (as I like to say, apples are not widgets!) Choose ones with the most color and that come off the tree easily. Please leave the others for later picking :)


As we go later into the season, be prepared to walk into the orchard further to find trees with fruit. The rows are 700 feet long, and eventually, only the farthest trees have apples on a given row. We are not able to "re-stock" the apple trees (yes, we’ve been asked this!

)

 

How do I pick to ensure good karma? (aka How to be an apple picking superstar)
Pick by grasping the apple and gently twisting and bending up at the stem.
Don't pull - you'll likely knock other apples to the ground. The best pickers don't knock any apples off the tree
.


Always pick what you can reach, DO NOT shake or climb trees. Those found doing damage will be asked to leave the orchard and no refunds will be given. Those caught stealing will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Respect your fellow pickers and our orchard (and build good karma!) by picking with care


 

What is the apple orchard like? What are the apple trees like?
Our 5-acre apple orchard is easy to navigate and not so big that you can get lost! Each variety has its own row so it’s easy to know where to pick.

While we did plant smaller sized "dwarf" apple trees, they have grown up quite a bit… nevertheless, our goal is to have enough low branches so kids will have a great time picking their own apples.

Note - we don't use herbicides to control weeds etc, so there is typically a lot of grass and yes, possibly poison ivy. AVOID shorts/sandals if you are allergic!

Why is the grass so high? 
If you encounter very high grass that might be an indication you should not be in that area of the orchard; we do leave areas un-mowed to discourage entry into areas not designated for picking. We appreciate your cooperation!  

Is the orchard handicapped-accessible?
Well, yes, it is on one level, however there is a grade and the ground can be uneven. That being said, we definitely have had wheelchair users visit our orchard.

Why are you keeping all the “best” apples at the top of the trees?
Yes, we’ve been asked this and we’ve been given negative reviews because there are apples out of reach. We can’t control which apple blossoms turn into viable apples, and since the tree tops get the most light, they tend to produce a fair number of apples.
The apples out of reach will be picked by us - with ladders - which is not nearly as easy as it looks. (We don’t allow pole pickers because we’re a small orchard and can’t afford to have even more apples knocked to the ground, which is what pole pickers do a lot of.)
So we apologize those apples might be up there seemingly taunting you, but really, they’re not! And the ones lower to the ground are just as tasty!

How do I keep my apples unbruised & fresh?
Treat your apples like eggs - they bruise easily.
 Refrigerate them (in the bag to retain moisture) ASAP for the best crunch!

What the heck do I do with all these apples I just picked?
Eat them. Cook them. Dehydrate them. Put them in your smoothie and drink them. Give them to friends & co-workers. Take photos of them and post on the socials.
Lots of recipe ideas here!


Should I bring a bag/basket/etc?
Nope we provide bags when you arrive.
Believe it or not, people steal apples. We know you would not do that, but we have to take precautions nonetheless. Thus, no bags (purses, backpacks, etc) larger than a football are allowed into the orchard. Please plan accordingly.



Oh, but it’s just a few apples in my pockets/purse/baby carrier/sunhat/camera bag/etc….
A lot of time, energy and money go into growing anything, especially apples, We thank you in advance for respecting that.
We also reserve the right to inspect all bags, strollers etc. Any additional apples found will be charged accordingly. Putting apples in anything but your purchased bag is stealing. We request all thieves to please stay home, or we’ll be happy to get you a state police escort to the F Troop station in Middletown!   


Can I bring my dog/cat/hamster/llama/etc?
Dogs (leashed, friendly, etc) are OK in the grassy parking area, but for everyone's safety, as well as to comply with government food safety regulations, customer pets are not allowed in the Orchard. Documented service animals are welcome.



Do we pick in the rain? 
If it's a downpour stormy day, definitely not. If it's a sprinkle here and there day, we will probably stay open. We announce closings on Facebook and on the "u-pick hotline" (845-670 4540) as early as we can. 

What should I not bring to apple picking?
Big bags, backpacks, etc. See above. 
We do not allow "pole pickers," (or ladders, of course).



 

What should I wear to pick apples?

Stylish but sensible is a good choice! Wear sturdy shoes and consider pants, consider boots if it's wet or there's a heavy morning dew.

 

Please watch your step – this is a working orchard – we have our fair share of woodchuck holes and other hazards that pop up daily.


Note - we don't use herbicides to control weeds etc, and it’s tough keeping up with mowing sometimes, so there is typically a lot of grass and yes, possibly poison ivy. AVOID shorts/sandals if you are allergic!

Are there bees?
Depending on the time of year and weather, there may be bees out and about… wear light colors and skip the fragrance, that will help them ignore you (which they usually will anyway). If you’re bee-allegic, please bring whatever allergy treatment you would need, just in case! Bees are critical to a healthy orchard, so please please please do not injure them!

Can we drive into the apple orchard?
No - there is no vehicle access to our 5-acre pick your own apple orchard.


 

Can we picnic at U-Pick?
Sorry, U-Pick is very rustic! There is no designated picnic area and facilities are limited to a port-o-jon.


 

There are great lunch/food options available next to the main store, at the Tap Room. As our parking and seating are limited during busy fall weekends, we can’t accommodate extended family picnics (+ outside food & beverage are not allowed) during the high season (mid-Sept to end of October). 
There is a local park (Shannen Park) food for picnicking a few minutes away in Slate Hill.

Can I bring a tour bus to apple picking?

As a rule, we can’t accommodate tour busses. We recommend trying Maskers Orchard in Warwick, they have a much larger orchard/operation. 


 

I took some great photos!
Cool! Share and tag us @soonsorchards on FB/Insta/Twitter. If you want to be up on the big screen in our store, email us your best photo! (info (at) upickapples.com) There might be sweet edible prize if we use it!  



Still have questions?
Let us know!
Thanks!