Take a bite out of Tougas

Excuse me, could I tempt you for a moment?

Yesterday, I took the kids to one of our favorite places: Tougas Family Farm in Northborough. Yes, I know this is called “The Greater Grafton Blog.” My definition of “greater Grafton” says I can go as far as one town over and still be relevant.

Besides, my blog. My rules. And, also, my apples.

Tougas Farm is a seasonal pick-your-own farm. At this time of year, you can still get raspberries, and they have lots of pumpkins in a very sincere pumpkin patch, but for us — and most people — September and October are All About the Apples.

ONE of my children was willing to serve as a model for this discussion. The other one is, well, an 11-year-old boy. Anyway, when you go into the orchards, you have to go by some rules — keep what you pick, be careful what you pick, and don’t, for the love of God, allow your children to run pell-mell through the orchard, swinging on trees and throwing apples at each other.

There’s a reason why we tend to go on a Monday, which is my day off: fewer city people who don’t quite get that this is a working farm.

Right now, it’s Honey Crisp season. These apples are hard to find in stores and tend to be expensive if they are there, because their season is a bit short and the apples are very very yummy.

Remember: twist and pick. And, by the way, kiddo, you’re in the picture. Heh-heh.

Spoke too soon. Watch out for apples as you run!

The apple types are all helpfully marked on the rows.

They put out signs to tell you which apples are ready and arrows to show you where to go. The Mutsus were still not quite ready, at least in this row.

There will come a point in your picking when your bag will be full and, yet, you’re still surrounded by apples. This is the point where you lose your head. So many apples! You need more in your bag! You continue to overstuff your bag, it’s overflowing, apples are rolling everywhere, you want to stuff your pockets full!

My son referenced that right outside the farm stand. “Hey, it’s a good thing I’m wearing a sweatshirt with pockets, I can stuff them full and still put some up my sleeves,” he said.

Try to stick with just the bag you paid for. And remember, when all else fails…

… absolutely no one minds if you sample a few right there in the orchard. Just don’t waste what you pick.

We were imagining what the birds must have thought when they first built this nest. It must have been in spring, when the blossoms were out, when the birds believed they were in a sweet-smelling paradise.

And then the fruit started crowding them out. And annoying people started to come by to pick apples. Boy! You never can tell what it’s going to be like when you move into a new neighborhood.

If you go on the weekend, there is a bonus: they’ll take you on a hay ride out into the orchards. You sit on scratchy hay bales and it’s kind of fun, especially if you have a tractor-loving child with you. And if they still have energy…

There’s a play area and petting zoo near the bakery. There’s also an old tractor that the kids can climb on — my son has grown out of his truck phase, but we used to visit the farm at least once a week so he could sit on the tractor.

You could buy an apple dumpling, or a dish of apple crisp a la mode, while the kids climb various tire constructs. Just remember to make them wash their hands — especially if they’ve been feeding goats — before you let them have cider doughnuts.

All in all, it’s a perfect way to swing into fall!

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3 thoughts on “Take a bite out of Tougas

  1. Tougas Farm is great fun! And for those who’d like an organic option, check out Old Frog Pond Farm in Harvard, Mass., which I think is the only certified organic orchard in the state. It’s small and doesn’t have other bling like hay rides and pumpkins, but it’s less crowded than Tougas or Honey Pot Hill. They also have a great pick-your-own raspberry patch:

    http://www.oldfrogpondfarm.com

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