Seasons: the antidote to boredom

At Ochs Orchard in Warwick, New York, the farm’s produce is sold from an original barn that was built in 1938. The farm market has been open for nearly 50 years, and generations of visitors return to the store to purchase fruits, vegetables, jams and jellies, local honey, nut butters, apple cider and donuts. “We only sell what we can grow ourselves or what we can buy locally,” farmer Alan Ochs said. What’s not grown on the farm is sourced from within a half hour’s drive.

The orchard is situated on a mountain overlooking the picturesque Warwick Valley. Alan’s grandfather, Peter Ochs, planted the orchard’s original trees as a teenager in the 1930s with Chris Scheuermann. Their partnership began as a wholesale apple and peach orchard.

In 1971, a New York City paper ran an advertisement for apple picking in Warwick. When nearby orchards were picked clean, the hordes came up the road to Ochs Orchard. As visitors left with bushel baskets filled with apples, the orchard’s pick-your-own emphasis was born. Alan’s parents, Leslie and Susan Ochs, purchased the farm from Peter that same year and began to build the retail business. Recently, Alan’s sister, Janice, has come back to help on the farm, along with her daughters, Jessie and Amy—the fourth generation.

“Mother Nature determines when fruits ripen and the picking begins,” Alan said, but visitors can expect strawberries in early June. Cherries come next, then raspberries and blueberries in July and August, followed by vegetables, peaches, plums, and pears. September and October are the best months for apples. “People come for the experience of picking. They’re always looking forward to the next thing to pick.”

Alan looks forward to the changing growing seasons. “You don’t get bored. When you do the same thing every day, you get bored. As soon as I get tired of doing one thing, the season changes.”

In addition to picking in the fields or shopping in the farm market, customers can visit the petting zoo, cut fresh flowers, and eat ice cream often made with fruit grown on the farm: strawberry, peach, plum, triple berry, and even apple pie and pumpkin pie ice cream in the fall. Beginning in June, the fields are usually open for picking from Wednesdays to Sundays from 9 to 5, but call ahead to see what is available: 845-986-1591.

Jenna Gersie