The Hippo


Jan 23, 2020








Pick your own
• Apple Annie (66 Rowell Road East, Brentwood,, 778-8881)
• Apple Hill Farm (580 Mountain Road, Concord,, 224-8862)
• Applecrest Farm Orchards (133 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls,, 926-3721)
• Apple View Orchard (1266 Upper City Road, Pittsfield, 435-3533,
• Brookdale Fruit Farm (38 Broad St., Hollis, 465-2241, ext. 3)
• Butternut Farm LLC (195 Meaderboro Road, Farmington,, 335-4705)
• Currier Orchards (9 Peaslee Road, Merrimack, 881-8864,
• DeVylder Farm (563 Pleasant Valley Road, Wolfeboro, 569-4110)
• Elwood Orchards (54 Elwood Road, Londonderry, 434-6017)
• Kimball Fruit Farm (Route 122, Hollis, 433-9751,
• Lavoie’s Farm (172 Nartoff Road, Hollis, 882-4996,
• Lull Farm (65 Broad St., Hollis, 465-7079,; and 615 Route 13, S. Milford, 673-3119)
• Mack’s Apples (230 Mammoth Road, Londonderry,, 432-3456)
• Oliver Merrill & Sons (569 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, 622-6636)
• Peak Orchards (896 Craney Hill Road, Henniker, 428-3397)
• Sunnycrest Farm (59 High Range Road, Londonderry,, 432-7753)
• Surowiec Farm (53 Perley Hill Road, Sanbornton,, 286-4069)
• Washburn’s Windy Hill Orchard (66 Mason Road, Greenville, 878-2101)

Take a bite
Tour New Hampshire’s apple orchards

By Kelly Sennott

There’s nothing like your first crunch into a fresh-picked apple. It’s sweet, yet tart, light, yet crisp, with just the right amount of juice — you have to slurp a little to keep it from dribbling down your chin.
Apple season is upon us, and with nearly 200 apple growers in New Hampshire and approximately 2,000 acres of apple production across the state, we’re in the right place to get that first fresh-picked flavor-packed bite of the wonderfulness that is a Mac apple. New England Apple Day was last Wednesday, Sept. 5, celebrated with New England Apple growers and members of the New Hampshire Fruit Growers Association at Apple Hill Farm, to kick off the season.
But where do you go for that perfect apple? New Hampshire seems to be clustered with orchards, just waiting for pickers this season.
Starting this week, Eber and Trudy Currier are guiding families and school groups into their quaint farm, Currier Orchards, nestled in the woods off Peaslee Road in Merrimack. The couple bought the farm in the 1980s, and it’s become a family affair. Their niece, Joy, often helps out at the cash register, while the pair guide apple pickers through their orchard speckled with Macs, Galas, Cortlands, Macouns and Honey Crisp apples. It’s a family that runs the business, and it’s the families that Eber enjoys seeing trek through his farm.
“The best thing that we offer is a place for families to come. It’s healthy, it’s an inexpensive activity, and you get something good from it,” he said. “We used to do wholesale, when we first began 28 years ago, but then we moved into ‘pick your own,’” Eber said. It’s nice because it brings more families in, but it’s also helpful for Eber and Trudy because it’s less physical strain. They’re still working seven days a week come fall, and they’re in their 80s, Eber said.
Both he and Trudy grew up farming or gardening in some way; his background was in potato farming in Maine, and she gardened when she was younger, her first job identifying the fertilized chicken eggs at a farm. He worked as an International Harvester dealer before they bought the farm, which is when he “retired from that, and went to work,” he jokes.
The farm hosts school field trips, teaching kids where their food comes from. “Many kids are actually very surprised to see that you can go and pick an apple off a tree — that they don’t really come from grocery stores,” Trudy said.
It’s a smaller farm, Trudy said, but they make fresh, unpasteurized cider every Saturday. Many visitors enjoy watching this process through the window panes. There are some kids who are quite fond of the farm stand: “One girl came in and cried because the cider wasn’t ready!” Trudy said.
Each New Hampshire orchard has its charms. Apple Hill Farm in Concord is located atop a grassy hill. A climb to the top reveals a majestic view of the green farm fields, the apple trees and, far out, some New Hampshire mountains.
This particular spot at the top of the orchard has also been a hotbed for romance. Owners Chuck and Diane Souther’s nephew was married here, and this summer there was a proposal here. At the top of the hill, there are comfortable ski lift seats that let you enjoy the views — one facing the mountains, one facing the orchard. It’s a great spot to see fireworks on the Fourth of July or to look at the stars at night, Diane explains.
Come for the apples, or for the other fresh fruits and vegetables or the weekend hayrides. Apple Hill Farm also offers a few fall raspberries for picking — they’re a light yellow but taste just as deliciously sweet as your red spring raspberries. The Southers use these raspberries to make a delicious golden jam, Diane said.
It’s true that when you opt to run a “pick your own” orchard, there is chance there will be waste — pickers will knock apples down, but it’s a memory, a family tradition that they’re preserving, Chuck said.
The Southers even allow members to bring their dogs for an apple-picking excursion, because well, “The dog is part of the family, too!”
There were some doubts as to what would come of this year’s apple crop. The apples are bigger, for sure, said Eber Currier of Currier Orchards in Merrimack, but the frost had them a bit worried. That weird weather in March caused many of the trees to bloom early (remember St. Patrick’s Day in shorts?). With no snow on the ground, no frost in the soil, the apple trees responded to the warm weather as if it were the third week in April, Chuck said, and the buds swelled to one half inch in diameter.
But then came March 27. The temperature dropped 20 degrees, which is “unremarkable” except that the apples were at a stage that they’d normally be at on April 27. Thus, some of those blooming buds didn’t make it through the spring. Crops all over New Hampshire were affected in some way or another.
But somehow, the rest of the year seemed to redeem itself; Currier noticed his apples this year were bigger than in the past, perhaps due to the number of sunny days we had this summer. The trees at the top of the hill on Apple Hill Farm are still thick with apple clusters.
In New Hampshire, you get something different at every orchard, Chuck said. You’ll get different heirloom varieties, different experiences, different flavors.
Why not make an adventure of it? Call it an apple crawl.

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