A visit to Apple Ridge Orchards in Warwick, NY + Photos
An image gallery of photos taken during our visit
can be seen at the bottom of this article.
Located at 101 Jessup Rd in Warwick, NY is the 63 acre Apple Ridge Orchards Pick-Your-Own Orchard which we got to visit this weekend.
Upon arrival, at about 12:27 pm, we were directed into the parking lot in an orderly, yet warm enough fashion. There were dozens of vehicles within, with space for plenty more. The walk to the farm’s entrance took nothing more than a mere minute or so and there were, what seemed like, a 100 or so kids of all ages. Upon leaving, over two hours later, that number felt as if it’d doubled. Nearly every face lit with a smile as cheer filled the air.
We got to chat with Joe Degise who’s been running the family business with his brother, Jason, for well over thirty years. We wanted to learn not only about the orchard business but, as well, about their own farm since they’re one of a number located not too far beyond our NYC borders.
When asked about how people come to learn of their farm, “”It’s pretty much word of mouth. Farms are very special to families. Because once they come and they bring their young ones it kind of becomes a tradition and the kids carry on that tradition, and so, we’ve been blessed. It’s a great spot, the Warwick, Hudson Valley speaks for itself, and it’s a very beautiful piece of property. So when people come … you give them a good agritourism experience … We always say it’s an old farm rustic field and so they tell people … We use our website and facebook page and that’s basically 95% of it.”” He goes on to mention how they’ve streamlined contact with the public to the web so’s to cut down on the possible call-volume.
Asked about their official closing date(s): “”We close the first weekend of November, officially, but really, for apples you wanna be getting out by mid-October so you get a good feel and a lot of apples left on the trees … and of course, the pumpkins are wonderful up until the 31st [of October].””
On the subject of the life / production expectancy of the trees: “”Farmers, back in the day, used to plant standard trees and the standard trees would grow about 20′ tall and maybe last a 100 years … depending on how you take care of them. But now farmers are trying to grow smaller trees, space them closer together to get more density per acre so we can get more output. So the trees today, I think, last a little less … I think if you can get 20 years plus from a tree nowadays you’re probably in decent shape depending on the type of interstem and the type of root stock you’re using.””
Within eye range, one could see hints of the subtle changing colors of the season, and so, we just had to ask about the oncoming foliage, to which Joe responded, “”You can see it’s early on in the foliage change, but because it’s been kind of a cool summer and a little stress in the latter half of the Summer and early fall, the leaves are starting to change already. I would say about two weeks from now you’ll start to see fall foliage colors. That’s probably when the big tours and trips will be up the Hudson Valley for that.””
Thereafter we were introduced to their petting zoo.
“”You know, these animals see thousands of children each year and they’re actually our farm pets. We keep them all year round and take care of them. They’re super friendly. They think they’re human.””
On hand were a couple of young dairy cows (named Percy and Sabrina) from their neighbors who share in the experience; goats; lamb, amongst them one named nibbles, “”Who runs the roost””, said Joe; a llama; and ducks all with personalities of their own. Reminiscent of scenes straight out of the film Babe. Folks were welcomed to pet and feed them. The animals themselves all appeared more than happy to oblige.
The last bit of our exploration would entail fetching an apple picking bag which cost $29. I would later guesstimate the number of apples we managed to squeeze in at about 50 to 60 with an overall weight of between 25-30 pounds; We picked them from long stretches of trees.
I cannot speak for anyone else, but this afternoon was the first aesthetic experience I’ve had in some time. I guess I can thank the neighboring hills of greenery and the pleasing Autumnal skies overhead. Undeniably, the entire package and presentation play a major role; from the tractor pulled wagon carrying visitors, on a tour, to the overall setting. Visiting an apple orchard is as close as one could get to a countryside autumn experience. Surely this farm is no exception.
We spent over two hours at Apple Ridge Orchards but I can easily imagine families wanting to spend a full afternoon there.
Thanks go out to Joe and Jason Degise for the hospitality they’ve extended to us. You can visit their official site at: http://appleridgeorchards.com/
For anyone curious about the location, Warwick is located in the southwest portion of Orange County, New York. It borders the state of New Jersey. Driving there, we discovered how it’s located about 24 minutes away from Central Valley, NY. A spot we’ve visited often over the years for the sake of shopping at the local department stores. Some of you might sooner identify with the area’s Woodbury Commons Shopping Outlet. Nonetheless, the drive is just as pleasant as any other in the State of New York. Keep in mind, we’ve driven through most of NY over the years and not only anticipate returning to this spot one day, but as well, discovering new ones.
Photos taken during our visit: