Depending on your route pick, you'll ride by or stop at what we think are some of the most beautiful orchards in Maine. We're a little bias, but we're willing to bet that you'll feel the same way after orchard-hopping your way through greater York County. Below is some information about orchards along the various ride routes....U-Pick your favorite.
McDougal Orchards in Springvale
McDougal Orchards and the Hanson family knows apples. Seven generations of Hanson family descendents have been farming and cultivating the 450-acre tract since it was purchased at auction by Joshua Hanson in 1779 for a mere fifty-two pounds. McDougal Orchards was the first orchard in the area to start a "Pick Your Own" operation after hailstorm decimated its 1972 wholesale crop and has since grown into a orchard-based "memory maker" of sorts for generations of families who visited the orchard as children and later returned with children of their own. In an effort to keep the farm accessible for all, no fees are required to visit: the hay ride, corn maze, fairy village, farm area, and picnic spots are all free. In 2005, McDougal Orchard granted an agricultural easement on the land, becoming a protected farm through Land for Maine's Future and the USDA Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program, and ensuring that its farms and orchards are preserved for generations to come.
Doles Orchard in Limington
Doles Orchard is a family-run farm that has been in the "Pick Your Own" fruit business for the past 20 years, growing and selling a wide selection of fruits that include varieties of: apples, peaches, plums, raspberries, blueberries and tart cherries. All things "pie" can be bought in their gift shop--custard pie, cran-apple, pecan, coconut custard, whoopie--, along with beautiful handmade gifts from the Small Farm Collective, but it's Doles' broader approach to the agribusiness that creates the year-round hustle & bustle of this energetic orchard. The Doles experience is part of what they refer to as "agritainment," expanding on PYO, wholesale, and traditional orchard businesses concepts to include a summertime Harvest Concert series, custom woodworking and laser engraving, school tours, and home fruit growers meetings.
Lake View Orchard in Lyman
Located just off hilly Brock Road (less than a mile from your start/end line!), Lake View Orchard is a hidden apple-orchard oasis in Lyman. The entrance is set back, connected to Brock via an inconspicuous, scrubby road that quietly ushers visitors through Lake View's humble main gate and into the the Eden. A small pond welcomes guests into this hilltop orchard, which grows a variety of apples including Macintosh, Cortland, Golden Delicious, Macoun, Paula-red and its own "Brock." Apples aren't the only thing growing at Lake View-- small and large mouth Bass for catch-and-release fishing inhabit the orchard's pond. Picnic tables with views of Bunganut Pond are located further in the orchard and up the hill. Visitors are welcome to stay for picking, fishing, BYO-lunch, or to just enjoy the tranquility of this off-the-beaten-path honey-hole.
Giles Family Farm at Notre Dame in Alfred
The Gile family name is prevalent throughout the town of Alfred – and while their convenient road-side store is located along Route 202, the apple orchard itself is high up on Shaker Hill, just a quarter-mile walk from AppleCycle’s start / finish line. Stretch your legs after your ride with a leisurely walk along the tree-lined dirt road leading you to acres of apple orchards. Pick some tasty apples – or maybe a pumpkin or two for upcoming Halloween decorations. For the hard cider fans, keep your eyes open for Crabby Bastard from North Country Hard Cider - made from apples (and crab apples) grown and pressed by Gile's Family Farm!
Eden Acres Family Farm in East Waterboro
Perched atop the challenging, and equally rewarding, Ossipee Hill, Eden Acres Family Farm is one of southern Maine’s few certified organic apple orchards. Planted years ago with unique heirloom apple varieties, Eden Acres offers a visit to the past, to a time when apples weren’t only red, yellow, or green – think black, pink, purple – YUM. A stop at Eden Acres is a must if you’re riding the 35, 62 or 100-mile route. Be sure to save some leg power to help press cider using their home-crafted bicycle-powered cider press!
Kelly Orchards in Acton
If you frequent York County farmers’ markets, then you may already be familiar with Kelly Orchards. Specializing in tree fruits, Kelly Orchards makes apples available to customers through their PYO opportunities, at their farm stand, and through numerous farmers’ markets. Stop in to pick yourself some well-known favorites, and while there, ask if the Esopus Spitzenberg apple is in season --- reportedly Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apple! If you want to enjoy some of their peaches or blueberries, plan a trip earlier in the season. Both the metric and full century rides will pass by Kelly Orchards in Acton.