Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hamilton Orchards

It's autumn and time for peaches and apples -- and apparently, raspberries. I've never considered raspberries fall food before, but I was definitely mistaken. Yesterday morning and friend and I went to Hamilton Orchards in New Salem to pick raspberries. And my, were there raspberries! Rows of red and golden raspberries, buzzing with happy bees and being nibbled by japanese beetles. It was good picking -- we each picked four quarts in about 1.5 hours; not too bad for raspberries -- and you can freeze them, make jam out of them, put them on cereal, make pie -- so many good things can be done with raspberries!

The orchards also had apples ready -- macs and cortlands -- which you can buy by the 1/2 peck or peck, or you can pick your own. (There are a number of pick-your-own orchards and farms around -- I'll try to get a good post about those, soon.) The macouns come later. The orchard store carried apple cider ($3.50 for a 1/2 gallon, if I remember correctly), pies, cookies, chocolates, honey, apple dumplings, corn, and a variety of other candies, pastries, and such things.

The farm is also home to some goats, sheep, dogs, pigs, and a donkey (who kept braying, making quite a racket) -- part of their little petting zoo. The dogs and goats were quite friendly -- that I can attest to. (I'm always taken by an adorable goat face.)

Hamilton Orchards is just up 202, north of Belchertown by about 20-25 minutes. The view on the drive is spectacular, showing off the Quabbin, which sits below the road, surrounded by trees.

Happy picking!

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