Pick Your Own Apples at Russell Orchards in Ipswich, MA

Taste the difference local makes when you pick your own fruit at Russell Orchards in Ipswich, MA or visit the barn shop for cider donuts and fruit wine.

Satisfy your sweet tooth while doing something good for the environment at Russell Orchards in Ipswich, MA. A working farm since the 1920s, the Russell family practices agricultural sustainability so that they will be around for another 100 years. Located at 143 Argilla Road, they are the last stop for ice cream before Crane Beach. They sell local fruits, veggies, and other curiosities in the barn shop from 9am to 6pm, May through November.

Visit Big Boy the Pig, and the other farm animals while waiting for the hayride to the PYO orchards in June through October. Spoil the kids’ dinner with Russell’s famous cider donuts while they play on the recycled toy playground. At harvest time, watch apples being pressed into cider or taste over twenty varieties of fruit wines and hard ciders before buying pumpkins and apple pie.

Russell Farm: Diverse and Sustainable

On their 120 acres of farm, the Russell family lives, grows and sells agricultural sustainability leaving as little impact on the environment as possible. Their tractors run on biodiesel fuel filtered from the oil used to fry their delicious cider donuts. Little to no synthetic chemicals are used on the fruits, vegetables, and herbs, which are picked when ripe. Their taste is incomparable with unripe treated fruit that is often sold in supermarkets.

Biodiversity is key to sustainability. Russell Orchards features many fruits and vegetables that have disappeared from shopping carts and dinner plates. Black raspberries, jostaberries, and sour cherries are just some of the more “exotic” local fruits. They grow and sell flowers that attract bees that are good for the environment and good for honey, which is for sale in the barn shop.

Buying local is what keeps them in business and is part of their business. What they do not grow themselves, they buy locally. They sell cheeses and ice cream from nearby dairy farms. The gift shop features regionally made candy, soap, and small gifts. Products vary from season to season and year to year, so there is always something new to try from the Massachusetts and New England bounty.

Pick Your Own Apples and Berries at Russell Orchards

Even though the orchards are open from 9am to 5pm seven days a week, try to get to the orchards before 11 am to beat the sun and the tourists. Hayrides leave from the farm every half hour. Take a hayride into the orchards, pick a pint or a peck, and walk the half-mile back, in about an hour. Watch out for poison ivy and mosquitoes, which infest the shady trails in late summer.

It costs $3 USD (2010 rates) for anyone ages two or older to enter the orchards. The entrance fee is deducted from the price of the fruit picked. June is strawberry season. Raspberries blueberries and blackberries are available for picking in July and August. Twenty varieties of apples are available for picking in September in October. Check the Russell Orchards website to see what fruits are currently available,

Summer Live Music & Fall Harvest Festivals

Grab a Richardson’s ice cream cone and a bag of cider donuts and stroll around Russell’s farm, where there is always something going on. Listen to local musicians who play outside the barn most Saturday afternoons in summer and fall. Feed the goats, chickens, sheep and ponies, just don’t get cornered by the geese who can be quite aggressive.

Bring the whole family to the Strawberry Festival in mid-June which features music, balloons, hayrides, face painting and of course, strawberries! Start holiday festivities off early, celebrating the Apples and Wine Festival, the first weekend in November. Fresh and frozen apple pies and crisps are available in the bakery but please pre-order for Thanksgiving.