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. 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 November 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.
For more information, and to see what's in season at Lyman Orchards, visit our Pick Your Own Guide, 0r see below for a complete listing:
Honeyberries are quickly moving up the berry food chain as the up-and-coming super fruit! Not only are they great for baking, jam-making, and snack-taking, the numerous health benefits of honeyberries make them a nutritional powerhouse.
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!
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. Lucky 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.
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.
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.
Lyman Orchards 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 mid-November, each variety has its own little “mini season” so pay attention to what’s picking from the Pick Your Own Hotline (860-349-6015), or visit our daily PYO updates and try them all!
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.
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!
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!
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)
- 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 listing, 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.