WHITEFIELD — Are you hankering for some apples? Perhaps some fresh cider, too? Well, then Maine Apple Sunday can’t come soon enough for you.

This weekend there’ll be more than 15 orchards statewide participating in the 21st annual event, which signifies the peak of Maine’s apple harvest as both summer and fall apples are in season.

Apple picker Nate Vaughn, 7, walks through the orchard Sept. 7, 2020, while picking apples at The Apple Farm in Fairfield with his sister Samara, 12, and grandparents Ken and Kelly Sherburne, all of Marlboro, Mass. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file photo

The day is organized by the Maine Pomological Society and includes a variety of samples and an array of activities for those visiting the orchards.

The society is a nonprofit organization that was incorporated in 1873. Its website describes the society as “orchards throughout the state dedicated to strengthening the sector as well as the agricultural industry in Maine.”

There’s a list of participating orchards and how they will be celebrating Maine Apple Sunday on the website, www.maineapples.org. Popular among the offerings are wagon rides, doughnuts, cider and wine tasting, ice cream, raffles, corn mazes and live music.

Among the local orchards that are participating throughout western and central Maine is Bailey’s Orchard in Whitefield. Organizers will be providing free apple squares and several apple prize drawings.

Located at 255 North Hunts Meadow Road, Bailey’s Orchard has been around for over 60 years. The family-run orchard sells more than 50 types of apples. Open from mid-August to late October, Bailey’s Orchard also grows pears, plums, crabapples, pumpkins, gourds, sunflowers and marigolds. With a cider mill on the grounds, it presses cider without additives or preservatives.

“It’s an old-fashioned farm that used to have cattle and horses,” owner Rodney Bailey said.

When his parents started the orchard there were around 30 trees, and now there are about 400.

“We have a lot of varieties of apples. Now we also have plums, pumpkins, gourds. In a couple of weeks we are going to start pressing cider,” Bailey said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not impacted work at the orchard because it has a vast outdoor operation in which virus transmission is unlikely. Bailey’s has adapted by having weighing stations and places outdoors to pay that are socially distanced. Additionally, employees are all vaccinated. They usually wear masks to ensure safety.

Many of the orchards are planning special activities, including Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner. Sunday’s offerings include a food truck, farm activities, corn maze, animals, bounce houses, mini golf, corn box and a special on carbonated sweet cider.

The Apple Farm in Fairfield will have wagon rides, samples of apple crisp, Gifford’s ice cream, cider pressing, cider samples and apple picking.

Other local participants include Boothby’s Orchard and Farm Winery in Livermore, Lemieux’s Orchard in Vassalboro, Sandy River Apples in Mercer, Vista of Maine Vineyard & Cidery in Greene and Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus.

“We’ve been trying to promote Maine Apple Sunday for the last 20 years,” said Steve Maheu, owner of Ricker Hill.

The owner of The Apple Farm, Marilyn Meyerhans, said, “We spend all year getting ready for this.”

After nearly 50 years in operation, she said the harvest this year is among the best she’s seen.

“The apple crop is amazing this year,” she said.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.