Sunday, September 15, 2013

Apple picking season in Maine - by Becky Longacre

There’s nothing like picking apples to kick off the fall season in Maine. Apples make people think of crisp cool air, crunchy leaves under foot and everything yummy from warm apple cider to chilled apple cheesecake. Apple picking as an industry has been around since the 1600s. The most beloved apple varieties in New England are McIntosh, Macoun and Cortland. In the Windham-Raymond area there are plenty of orchards to choose from to pick your own from early September to mid-to-late October. And this year has been a great one for the apple crop. Each orchard has its own charm and riches. Here are five of them with their signature benefits.

1.) Meadow Brook Farm located conveniently on Route 85 in Raymond has 20 acres of land with a picnic area and a bakery. They also have fresh apple cider and are open on the weekends.

2.) Terison Apple Orchard on Whitney Road in Cumberland is open on weekends. It was originally opened in 1946 but closed for some years and is now reopened. Feel free to bring your dog to the orchard with a leash. They offer McIntosh and Cortland varieties and have a bakery.

3.) Thompson’s Orchard on Gloucester Hill Road in New Gloucester offers hay rides, has a bakery, fresh cider and a cute shop with handmade goods.

4.) Libby & Son U-Picks on Sawyer Mountain Road in Limerick offers not only the traditional apple favorites but crab apples as well. They are open daily and have a great, informative website at

5.) Randall Orchards on Randall Road in Standish is the largest orchard in southern Maine, hosting 100 acres of trees and offering 25 types of apple varieties. They make their cider in a turn-of-the-century wooden press. The manager, Scott Neal said, he believes the weather has been great for the apple crop. “I think the growing season has been optimum,” he said. “[The apples will be] picked today and delivered tomorrow”…. “I got 21 Hannaford stores” … “I think what we got going for us is we got something fresh.” They don’t spray their apples to make them appear ripe. “That press in there is a turn-of-the-century press.” The press is largely made of wood and Scott said that a press should help to infuse more flavor into the cider. “There should be a wood flavor to the cider,” he said. Cider will be on the shelf on Friday.
The weather this year has produced apples in abundance so get some and enjoy. 

For more information about the apple orchards in Maine, check out and

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Put those apples to good use! Here are two apple recipes:
1.) Classic Apple Sauce
a. Peel and cut a ½ peck of apples and place in a large pot
b. Add 1/3 cup water
c. Add ½ cup sugar
d. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg

Directions: simmer covered, stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes and let cool before packing.

*This recipe can be altered for those wanting to reduce their carbs by omitting the sugar and increasing the cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.

2.) Apple Stuffed Chicken
    a.) 4 chicken breast, halved
    b.) 2 tablespoons sugar mixed with ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    c.) 2 apples, peeled and cut into slivers
    d.) 1 cup apple cider mixed with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and salt to taste.

Directions: pound chicken to1/8 inch thickness. Coat apples with cinnamon-sugar mixture and fold the chicken slices around the apple mixture, securing with a toothpick. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 20-30 minutes, turning once, until juices are clear. Meanwhile, slowly simmer the cider-cornstarch-salt mixture until it bubble and pour over stuffed chicken.



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