With September upon us, apple picking season is nearly ready to start at North Star Orchards in Westmoreland.

Apple-picking at North Star Orchards is a fall 'must do' for most of us in the Utica area. We've been picking apples there for years - and it's the perfect thing to take your mind off all the other stuff going on lately.

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North Star Orchards will kick off their u-pick season on Friday, September 18th. In September, u-pick will be available daily from 8am - 6pm. In October, the schedule will switch to weekends only for the first three weeks of the month.

TSM

In October, North Star also offers u-pick pumpkins, which is a ton of fun for the kids. Kids can also watch a demonstration of the cider press. While you're there, don't forget to stop into their market for mums, delicious treats (try their frosted pumpkin cookies brownies, or cider donuts - you won't be sorry), and fresh produce from the farm and elsewhere.

Trying to figure out what to do with all those apples? You could make a pie - unless you're like me, and too lazy to make a crust from scratch. In that case, you can try an apple crisp. My favorite recipe is from the Pioneer Woman - you can make it in a Pyrex baking dish, or (if you want to look really rustic) a cast iron pan. Either way, make sure you've got plenty of vanilla ice cream.