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Manhattanites Heed Last Call for Apple Picking

By Ben Fractenberg | October 27, 2011 1:12pm | Updated on October 27, 2011 1:34pm

MANHATTAN —  As the season comes to an end for picking a bucket full of crisp fall apples, Manhattanites don't have to travel too far to stock up on some honeycrisp, Fuji and red delicious.

With the growing popularity of the 'buy local' food movement, New Yorkers have been striking out in search of their own apple-picking experience, and many of them land in New Paltz, in the middle of New York's Hudson Valley, where at least a dozen orchards let visitors try out as farm hands.

The sleepy college town, with views of the Shawangunk Mountain Ridge, is about a 90 minute drive up the I-87 from Manhattan. It wears its artsy, post-60s vibe on its sleeve, which also means lots of support for local mom-and-pop farmers.

"It's super close. We can come up here easily and just do a day trip," said Scott Lakso, of Queens.

"It's nice because obviously in the city you don't really have that many trees and you don't get to see the leaves changing, so this is nice to remind you of the changing of the seasons," he added.

Dressel Farms is a five minute drive southwest from the center of town, along Route 208.

The family-run business has been in the area for more than 50 years, and sells apples throughout the U.S., Canada and overseas.

"It's an easy weekend activity," said Tim Dressel, 26, who started to help his father manage the farm after finishing college four years ago. "A lot of people enjoy getting out of the city, getting into the country where we have the views and the leaves and the colors."

Dressel said the apple-picking season ends next week.

One bucket full of apples cost $18.

"It's delicious," said Jesse Wall, who returned for a second visit before the season ended, "There's nothing better than apple picking in New Paltz, there really isn't."

If you're looking to hop around, Hudson Valley Farms provides a map showing the location of farms in and around New Paltz.

The best way to get up there from the city is by car. New Paltz is exit 18 off I-87. You can also take MetroNorth or Amtrak to Poughkeepsie and then take a bus or cab across the river to New Paltz, or take a bus from Port Authority directly to the town.