Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What do I need to know about visiting during the Covid-19 pandemic?


A

The safety of our customers, employees and our food supply is our highest priority. The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture has mandated that masks be worn and social distancing be observed when visiting PYO farms. Additionally, no food is to be consumed while on the farm. We provide hand washing stations and sanitizer for your use; all surfaces are sanitized and staff is required to adhere to strict protocols to insure the safety of our customer and employees. No pets allowed on the farm. We seek your cooperation to insure that everyone stays healthy and well.

For more information please see the COVID-19 guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture for Pick Your Own farms.

Q

When does apple picking start?​


A

Apples come into season starting around the last week of August. Varieties such as Paula Red and Ginger Gold are available prior to Labor Day. After Labor Day, Honeycrisp and Macintosh come in. Any day in September or October you will find several varieties of apples to pick.

Q

Can I bring my dog to your farm?


A

Thank you for asking, but pets are not permitted. If you arrive with your pet, you will be asked to leave it in the car. There is not a lot of shade in our parking area, so for the safety of your pet we advise you leave your dog at home.

Q

I have a group that wants to come picking. Do we need to make special arrangements?


A

With Covid-19 restrictions in place, Autumn Hills has suspended hosting group visits of 6 or more individuals. Family units or "pods" are welcomed in individual passenger vehicles and will be asked to stay together as a unit in order to make social distancing practical. Your cooperation is appreciated!

Under normal circumstances we require that groups of 10 people or more make an appointment to visit. This can be done by email or phone 48 hours in advance. Depending on the number of people in your group, we may require a minimum purchase of 1/2 peck or peck bags at the start of your visit. This makes it easier for your group as you will not have to “check out” before you leave. If you would like to reserve picnic tables for a party, you can do so by email or phone. Reservations are based on availability and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Groups are asked to “pack out” all refuse. No cooking or grills permitted.

Q

What attractions/activities do you offer?


A

Autumn Hills offers 84 acres of scenic farmland with spectacular hilltop vistas that stretch across the hills of central Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. The vista includes Wachusett, Monadnock, Pak Monadnock, Wataitic in Massachusetts and Temple and Crotched mountains in New Hampshire as well as the nearby Nissitissit Hills. There are picnic tables up on the high ridge where you can sit, relax and enjoy the view. Trails and paths circle the farm. Walk, pick fruit, enjoy the view!

Q

Do you serve food?


A

Sadly, we have no facilities for serving food. In the past you could bring your own picnic lunch, but Covid-19 guidance from the Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) requires us to restrict picnics, as well as sampling food in the orchard. Your cooperation is appreciated!

Q

Where can I buy your fruit?


A

Autumn Hills tries to sell direct in most cases. We have a small, “honor system” farm stand at which you can purchase apples or other fruit in season. The stand has moved to the barn. There is a cooler stocked with apples in the barn. Bring exact change or a check to drop in the box. Occasionally, we sell to other markets and local stores, but our survival as a farm depends on direct sales to customers.

Q

What should I wear to pick apples?


A

There’s no dress code but our orchard is hilly, so sturdy walking shoes will serve you best; sandals are not recommended as they do not protect from insects, briars, rocks, poison ivy, etc. Long pants are also recommended for this reason

Q

What are your growing practices?


A

As do most of the orchards in New England, we employ Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices which means we coordinate the use of pest and environmental information with available pest control methods to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage with the least possible hazard to our customers, our farm and the environment. There is no national certification for IPM growers as there is for organic growers, but we work closely with UMass Agricultural Extension and other resources to collect the latest and most relevant information so we can grow in a responsible and sustainable way.Sadly, we have no facilities for serving food. Bring a picnic lunch; we’ll have cider and bottled water for purchase.