There are many splendid apple and blueberry orchards located in New England and I’ve been to quite a few of them. I have to say though, of those I’ve visited, Belltown Hill Orchards is the nicest. Or, at least one of the nicest. It’s beautiful, the grounds are well looked after, and the fruit is just great. While Laura and I were living in Connecticut between 2008 and 2013, visiting these orchards was a no-brainer. Whether it be for picking apples, cherries, or blueberries, we always had fun and got our money’s worth.
In the posts below, I describe our adventures at Belltown Hill Orchards in South Glastonbury, Connecticut. As you’ll soon discover, we’ve been there more than once. And for the reasons I described above, that wasn’t by accident.
July 5, 2009
Today, we enjoyed ourselves over at Belltown Hill Orchards in South Glastonbury, CT picking blueberries. Boy, I hope I don’t get sick of all this fruit. There are a bunch of months left to “pick-your-own.”
Since we had never been to this farm before, we had to use the GPS for the last few miles. The farm is actually located right across the street from Rose’s…the one we went strawberry and raspberry picking at last week. It’s right off Matson Hill Road. If you decide to visit this farm, beware that the driveway is kind of steep.
This farm offered a nice tractor ride up to the blueberry fields. I read a little sign on the back of the trailer that said, “Tractor runs on bio-diesel.” I thought that was kind of neat. I kept trying to smell Chinese food, but all I smelled was exhaust. I guess it wasn’t running on Chinese food.
Okay, to the blueberries. We met Laura’s friend up at the bushes (by the way, one more hangout with the three of us and she is my friend too). She was already picking away. She is a blueberry fanatic, like I am. You can honestly never eat too many blueberries. The best part about picking these things is that you can get handfuls of them and stuff them in your mouth right there in the field. It’s gross, but worth it.
These blueberries were really huge. They were like small plums, they were so big. I hung a little bucket around my neck and picked and picked and picked. Towards the top of the bucket, my neck started to hurt. I am guessing that I had about three pounds in there because overall, we had about five pounds. Three pounds hanging around the neck gets to ya after a while.
You can pick blueberries all the way into August, which is cool because we will probably end up getting more.
I am really enjoying visiting all the farms around here for their pick-your-own fun. There is really a good variety through the Summer and Fall, like apples, blueberries, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, pumpkins and blackberries. Some farms even have cut-your-own Christmas trees, which is cool.
Here, check out some pictures of blueberries.
June 25, 2011
I’m going to be straight with you right up front. This story has an unfortunate ending. You’ll see by the last picture.
Guess what today is. That’s right, it’s opening day of cherry picking at Belltown Hill Orchards in South Glastonbury, CT. We wait for this day all year and when it comes, we hop in the car and head over to the farm for some serious cherry picking. This year I wasn’t messing around. I was planning on at least five pounds of cherries. If last year was any indication (which it wasn’t), we could have them all picked and packed in no time flat. They are big and juicy and aren’t very difficult to pluck from the trees. Well, there is some downtime used for taking breaks to stuff thy face.
Okay, without further ado, I’ll get to the point.
We got in the car and drove to the farm. There were more cars than we are used to. It was opening day after all. As we were gathering the buckets we would use to hold our cherries, I overheard someone asking something to the guy who worked the front table. I didn’t hear the question, but I heard the answer. It was something like, “…I told them the best thing to have done was to have shown up this morning.” I didn’t know what that meant, but I quickly learned as we started looking at the cherries on the trees.
Split cherries. Too much rain. Apparently, when the Spring season gets too much rain, cherry trees don’t know when to say when. They keep absorbing and actually burst the cherries. It’s a real shame because the cherries were sweet and just as delicious as any other year. The only problem was that they are somewhat useless. We were unfortunately unable to harvest any cherries this year. We left with a mere ounce or two of eaten cherries in our tiny hungry stomachs.
I feel bad for the farm. These are gorgeous trees on gorgeous land. We can only hope for a dry warm Spring next year.
October 5, 2011
This is probably the fastest I have ever written a blog post after an event. It’s because I have been getting kind of lazy and they get piled up on me. This is the last one of the pile. After this, I have nothing to write about.
Today was the day to go apple picking at Belltown Hill Orchards in South Glastonbury. It was a good thing we went today because October is a very unpredictable month when it comes to weather. I remember saying last year, “Next year, we have to take it when we can get it. If the weather is good we jump in the car to go pick apples.” That’s what we did.
This was so much better than last year too. As I have mentioned in some of my older posts, we usually go up to Stockbridge, MA for our apple picking. Well, as I get older, I don’t enjoy driving as much as I used to. From our location to theirs, you have to navigate through some cities and highways. It’s not fun. I would much rather stay kind of local and drive as little as possible.
Belltown had the tractors and the trailers. It is so much fun to hop on the trailer and get towed around to the picking areas. Today, there were about three stops…each one offered different types of apples. Even though the season is almost over and some of the trees were picked clean, we still managed to find very full trees to fill our 30 pound bucket up. That’s right, 30 pounds of apples. Geesh.
I took a bunch of pictures. Take a look at them and try to tell me that the weather could have been better. Nope.
June 20, 2012
Well, we made it back to Belltown Hill Orchards once more for our annual cherry picking. Last year was a bust because of the wet Spring. All the cherries split. This year, the cherries were perfect and we managed to pick $47 worth.
That’s almost 10 pounds.
I wrote about last year’s cherry picking above, so you can see pretty much the same pictures. It’s unfortunate that there really are only so many things to take pictures of when cherry picking, but it’s still fun to post them. Perhaps next year I’ll use a different lens and just focus on close-ups of the cherries themselves. This year I used my wide angle because I wanted to get the view, which is pretty nice.
Autumn Apple Picking
October 15, 2012
Well, we made it out to our sometimes annual apple picking event. This year, we went to Belltown Orchards in South Glastonbury, CT. Belltown probably has the nicest orchard I’ve ever been to. It’s clean, the apples are in great shape, there’s a large variety and the entire place is well run. We had a great time and walked away with a very pricey two large bags of apples. Probably around 50 pounds worth.
There is one thing that I’d like to note – and I’m sure those rowdy folks who like to misbehave while apple picking caused this whole thing – but Belltown seems to have clamped down on free roaming through their orchards. I can almost guarantee that it’s because kids climb trees while unattended and Belltown wants to guide us to the areas that are supervised and where there are actual apples to be picked, but one of the primary enjoyments I get out of apple picking is the exploration and simple roaming around. I like to take my time doing what I want to do, while not having to ride the cart that’s pulled by a tractor.
Oh well, other than that, we had a great day and took lots of nice pictures, which I’ll post below.