2021’s Best Pick Your Own Farm in CT is Lyman Orchards

September 30, 2021

The results are in, and the readers of Connecticut Magazine have once again selected Lyman Orchards as the BEST PICK YOUR OWN FARM in Connecticut.  Thank you!  In a state with many wonderful farms to choose from, this is such an honor!       

The path to obtaining this award has been 280 YEARS in the making!  In fact, Lyman Orchards is the twelfth oldest family-owned company still in operation in the country!  The Lyman Orchards story begins in 1741, when John Lyman and his wife Hope purchased 37 acres of land in a southwest area of Middletown (currently Middlefield), now the site of the Homestead and the Apple Barrel Farm Market.  In the 1960’s Lyman Orchards invited everyone to be a “farmer for the day” and Pick Your Own (“PYO”) was born.  Now in 2021, 350 acres of the 1000-acre Lyman Orchards property is dedicated to PYO fields.  Lyman Orchards continues to welcome guests from June to October to take part in this tradition by picking your own fresh fruits - over 100 varieties to choose from!

Want a hear of little bit of living history?  Call the Pick Your Own Hotline at 860-349-6015 and you will most likely be treated to the voice of our modern-day John Lyman, eighth generation family member of the original John Lyman, providing an upbeat and informative listing of daily picking conditions, varieties, prices, and events.  Take a peek at what you can harvest for yourself:

STRAWBERRIES:  The PYO season always starts with a winner – strawberries!  Beginning in early June (sometimes late May if the conditions are right), visitors can fill their containers with these plump and vibrant gems.  Did you know that there are multiple varieties of strawberries for picking?  The varieties come in different sizes and different levels of sweetness – come try them all!     

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JOSTABERRIES:  The Jostaberry is a complex cross between black currants and gooseberries.  Never heard of them?  That’s probably because they are not well suited to mechanical harvesting, so their commercial production is limited.  Luck for you, they are here at Lyman Orchards waiting to be picked from early to mid-July.  Do what robots can’t and pick yourself some jostaberries.   

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BLUEBERRIES:  These nutritional powerhouses are yours for the picking from mid-July to early August.  Bonus:  Blueberry bushes are perfectly human-sized for picking without bending.  

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RASPBERRIES:  While familiar to most people, raspberries are still some of the weirdest fruits available at Lyman Orchards.  Technically they are not even berries because each individual raspberry is made of dozens of drupelets which together surround a core that remains on the bush when plucked, leaving you with the empty cup-shaped raspberry.  Come back in late June to late July to see these delicious tiny monsters for yourself. 

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APPLES:  In addition to the honor of being Connecticut Magazine’s Best Pick Your Own Farm in Connecticut, in September 2021, Reader’s Digest also named Lyman Orchards as the BEST PLACE TO GO APPLE PICKING IN CT.  This year’s apple crop is also one of our best yet – woohoo!  As if you could possibly need another reason, our apples are ECO-CERTIFIED meaning that environmentally disruptive practices (e.g. sprays) are minimized in favor of natural occurring controls (ladybugs and other predators).  It’s fair to say that Lyman Orchards knows apples!  And there are over 20 varieties of apples to pick from – all having a unique flavor profile.  While apples in general are available from mid-August to late October, each variety has its own little “mini season” so pay attention to what’s picking from the Pick Your Own Hotline (860-349-6015) and try them all!

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PEACHES / NECTARINES:  Lyman Orchards peaches are also ECO-CERTIFIED to preserve and protect the orchards’ ecology.  Available mid-July to late September, your sweet and juicy peach picking experience includes “cling-stone” varieties earlier in the season (when the flesh clings to the pit) and “free stone” varieties later in the season.     

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PEARS:    Homer didn’t call pears the “gift of the gods” for nothing.  Pears are absolutely delightful, and you can pick these shapely treats from late August to late September.  And don’t forget to pick some Asian pears too.  Apple-shaped Asian pears do make luxurious tasting gifts – yum!  

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PUMPKINS:  The pumpkin spice craze would be nothing without the pumpkin.  Find your moment of Autumn greatness and dive into the Lyman Orchards pumpkin patch, filled with classic orange pumpkins, as well as trendy white pumpkins and jolly green pumpkins.  And don’t miss the warty goblin pumpkin that’s in a class of its own!     

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As exciting as picking your own fruits can be, Lyman Orchards is here to take your day’s fun up several more notches.  Offerings vary throughout the season.

  • Sunflower Maze (August)
  • Corn Maze (September to beginning of November)
  • Apple Cannons  
  • Hayrides
  • Golf (Lyman Golf offers 36 holes of championship golf and a friendly Par-29 course)
  • Dining (Apple Barrel Farm Market Deli and the fabulous full service 1741 Pub & Grill)
  • Shopping at the Apple Barrel Farm Market for apple cider donuts, pies, and so much more
  • Festivals and Events galore - check our Events tab as the selection is constantly updated.  The line-up often includes musicians, food trucks, comedians, story tellers, trivia nights, wine and beer tasting, dancers, mix-tape media, goats, brunches, painting, dueling pianos, cookie decorating, and special guests.  

The Lyman family is proud and determined to maintain and evolve the farm for future generations.  We will continue to work hard at deserving this Best Pick Your Own Farm in CT award and look forward to hosting you throughout the year on your PYO farming journey.    

Meet The Chef

At nine years old, Ben Gaffney asked if he could work alongside his father, a chef, at Congress Rotisserie in New Haven. The elder Gaffney put the boy to work washing dishes for two years, in the hope that it would discourage his interest in the restaurant business.

But a calling is a calling. Ben Gaffney has spent his life since then pursuing the wonders of food, bringing Middlefield along for the ride as chef at Lyman Orchards since 2017.
get to know chef ben

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The Apple Barrel

OPEN YEAR ROUND
Monday-Thursday: 9:00AM-6:00PM
Friday-Sunday: 9:00AM-7:00PM

32 Reeds Gap Rd
Middlefield, CT 06455
Phone: 860-349-6000

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lyman golf

OPEN YEAR ROUND
Monday-Friday: 7:00AM-5:00PM
Saturday-Sunday: 7:00AM-5:00PM

700 Main Street
Middlefield, CT 06455
Phone: 860-349-6031

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Pick your own

OPEN DAILY
Monday-Sunday: 9:00AM - 4:30PM

105 South Street
Middlefield, CT 06455
Phone: 860-349-6015

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