Carlson Apple Orchards

Dear followers, last Saturday we went on an adventure that changed our view on apples. This adventure started on a cold Tuesday afternoon, Michelle had prepared an activity for us. In this activity we had to identify 8 varieties of apples using our senses. this thought us about the different types of apples that we might find in orchards.


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On Saturday we visited Carlson Orchard in Harvard MA. While we were at Carlson Orchard we took a tour lead by Frank Carlson and saw all the ways that they produced their apple products. During the tour we learned about apple distributing, how apples were separated from the size that they were to put it in a different bags and how they put the apple in a large freezer to store the apples so that they last longer and don’t get damaged. During the tour Frank explained to us how they are in the market for many different types of apple products such as apple cider, cider doughnuts, apple pie etc. He told us that their apples are sold to both local markets and customers that they have had for many years. After the tour we had the opportunity to go apple picking down in their orchard. This was fun and no matter how many apples people would pick they could never have enough. In order to get down to the orchard we took a hay ride to the orchards and put as many apples as we could possibly fit in each of our bags.

We learned many things throughout this week. We used to think that the only apples were just red, green, and yellow apples, but we learned that their are many different varieties to all of them. Over 7,500 to be more exact, all with different tastes, shapes, colors and textures to them. We also learned about how expensive and costly it is to maintain and manage an orchard. Their are orchards all over the NPS that are all maintained for different reasons. Some were located in historic battles, others were owned by significant historical figures and some just have certain varieties of apples that are close to being extinct. The surprising thing about apples is that the seeds from an apple wont give you the same apple. In order to get a certain apple is by grafting. Grafting is a process in which one gets a cutting from a certain apple tree and put it on a different apple tree. This will give you the apple that you desire.

This was a very fun program with many highlights. We enjoyed learning about how orchards operate, we never new exactly how hard it was to maintain an orchard, especially since almost everything has to be done by hand. Seeing the massive freezers where they stored the apples was also cool. the apple cider doughnuts that the orchard produced were amazing and everyone enjoyed eating them. They got their electricity from solar panels and everyone found them to be very interesting. The best part, of course, was the apple picking was also a huge highlight, but better than that was tasting the delicious apples that we had picked.

We had lots of fun during this program and can’t wait for the next. We hope to see you at our next event.

From The School Year Ambassadors. Diego AKA Soga, Stephen AKA Stevo, and Andreas AKA Sunshine.

4 responses to “Carlson Apple Orchards

  1. What a great field trip! It is amazing how many apple products are being marketed these days…everything from apple fritters to apple vodka! Great job capturing the experience!


  2. What a great field trip! The comparisons you mention between the commercial orchard that you visited and the historic orchards at national parks is very interesting! Imagine…7500 apple varieties. If you tried one a day, it would take more than 20 years to taste every one of them…wow! Wish I could have one of those cider donuts, looks delicious!


  3. Wow – I’m impressed with all that you learned, but still wondering what were your favorite apples? I like Braeburn, and am on the Honeycrisp bandwagon as well.


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