{Gallivant} Russell Orchard | Ipswich, Massachusetts

I had the most amazing weekend in Boston last weekend, attending the Home for the Holidays Event hosted by Wayfair and Boston Bloggers. I learned so much and can't wait to share, but before we dive headfirst into the holidays I wanted to highlight a quintessential Autumn destination: the apple orchard. More specifically, Russell Orchards, in Ipswich, Massachusetts. 

There seems to be a point around mid-October, when the leaves begin to turn and the temps begin to drop, that one starts to crave fresh still-warm-from-the-oven cider donuts. This point typically coincides with the arrival of (my beloved) sweater weather. We made the autumnal pilgrimage to Russell Orchards at this point in the season countless times during my childhood, and spent afternoons running around the barnyard greeting all of the farm animals, picking out the perfect pumpkin, and finally heading inside to grab a bag of freshly picked apples and a dozen or so delicious apple cider donuts. 

When we left church on Sunday morning the weather was glorious and the air was crisp. We (my parents, best friend Emily, and I) piled into the car and headed over to Russell for the afternoon. 

Owned by Doug and Miranda Russell, the orchard boasts 29 apple varieties, as well as various stone fruit, berries, and veggies. They offer pick your own options throughout Spring, Summer, and Fall--depending on what is currently in season. They also have a large store chock full of season produce, fresh baked goods, their own fruit wines and cider, as well as local cheeses, cookbooks, and gifts. 

Probably the biggest pig I have ever seen...He was quite the character. 

We hopped on the wagon for a tour of the property. Although I have been coming here for years, my parents and I had never taken the tour. We were amazed by how much bigger the property is, and the variety of crops that they grow--rows upon rows of peaches, plums, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and currants, just to name a few! 

The entire property is gorgeous, but my favorite part was the rows of  apple trees. As Emily said, "They look like they have souls." I just love the way Apple trees grow--all gnarled and twiggy, with tons of branches that would be lovely to perch on for an afternoon and read. At this time of year many of the trees had been harvested, but there were still a few that were laden with plump fruit, waiting to be picked. 

After our tour we headed inside and had the pleasure of chatting with the lovely Miranda about the business and how she balances the farm with her music career. Her passion for the farm was obvious, and it was so neat to hear her talk about why they do things the way that they do. It is evident that she and her husband take great pride in welcoming the public onto their property to catch a glimpse of what modern farming looks like, as well as indulge in delicious local produce and products. 

Before leaving I couldn't resist grabbing a bag of warm donuts, as well as a bottle of Russell Orchard's own Middle Ridge Hard Cider. The donuts were just as good as I remembered, but the cider was the real treat--deliciously crisp and dry, and different than any cider I had had before. Definitely all the more reason to make the pilgrimage next Fall when we are home in Boston!

If any of you are in the area in the next few weeks than make sure to check out Russell Orchards. I can think of tons of yummies from their shop that would make amazing hostess gifts or additions to the Thanksgiving table--local cheeses, apples for apple pie, and their cider, just to throw a few ideas out there.

What are some of your favorite seasonal traditions? I would love to hear!

Russell Orchards Farm Store and Winery, 143 Argilla Rd, Ipswich, MA, (978)-356-5366

Happy Monday!

xoxo,

Emily

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