Get Up & Go: Apple Picking!

Autumn in Massachusetts means delightfully crisp temperatures and even crunchier apples. This week’s Get Up & Go! offers five local orchards where Macintoshes, Cortlands and more are ripe for the picking. So, this weekend, get up and go have a taste of the fall harvest!

Smolak Farms

Each year, Smolak Farms offers fresh seasonal produce, pick your own apples and a series of Harvest Festivals each weekend. From now until October 26th visitors can enjoy hay rides around the farm, a 10ft high corn maze and decadent, homemade apple cider donuts.


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315 South Bradford Street, North Andover, MA 01845

C.N. Smith Farm

Located in East Bridgewater, this family owned and operated farm offers apple picking as well as pick your own raspberries (yes, they’re still in season!) and pumpkins that are perfect for carving. For a full day of fun on the farm, check out the annual Harvest Hoedown held on Columbus Day Weekend where youngsters can enjoy a giant moonwalk and pony rides.


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325 South Street, East Bridgewater, MA 02333

Honey Pot Hill Orchards

Honey Pot Hills Orchards was one of the first farms in the country to offer “pick your own” apples to visitors. Set against the backdrop of beautiful, Stowe, MA, Honey Pot is an ideal location for an autumn afternoon whether you spend it apple picking or on a hay ride around the farm.


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138 Sudbury Road, Stow, MA 01775

Belkin Family Lookout Farm

The Belkin Family Lookout Farm was established in 1651, and is one of the oldest operating farms in the United States. In addition to apple picking, Lookout Farm offers a full day’s worth of activities for kids. Little ones can enjoy the children’s play area, moon bounce, train rides and more!


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89 South Pleasant Street, South Natick, MA 01760

Connors Farm

Connors Farm in Danvers has no shortage of fall activities. Head to the farm for apple picking face painting, hayrides, and even try your hand at the mechanical bull. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, the farm offers a number of delicious food options including Bob’s BBQ Pit, Connors Country Kitchen, and The Corn Crib.


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30 Valley Road (Rt. 35), Danvers, MA 01923

For more of the best apple picking spots in Massachusetts, check out this week’s Boston Globe article, “Where to pick-your-own apples in Massachusetts.”

@CommonsCooks: Tailgate Treats

Be the consummate football party host this fall with delightful, easy and tasty meals. This week’s @Commons Cooks offers three crowd-pleasing dishes perfect for a Game Day party or tailgating excursion. That means spending less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the game with friends and family.

Chicken Gumbo

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes



  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen, cut okra
  • 8 ounces smoked (precooked) Andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), skin and bones removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)


  1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium.
  2. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Add 4 cups water; stir in okra and sausage.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Stir in shredded chicken, and warm through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.

Required Equipment:

  • Large skillet

Recipe Credit:

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes



  • 1 lb. ground beef/sirloin
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. steak sauce
  • 1 c. beef stock
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 pkg. sliced mushrooms
  • Provolone cheese, cut into slices or pre-sliced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Buns/Rolls


  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add onion, green pepper, and mushrooms. Cook another 3-4 minutes until they start to get tender. Stir in steak sauce and beef stock, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook about 2 minutes.
  4. Split rolls, place one slice of cheese on one side and toast under broiler while keeping watch so they don’t burn.
  5. Place a scoopful of the meat on the bottom half of bun, drizzle with steak sauce and place cheesy bun on top

Required Equipment:

  • Large skillet

Recipe Credit:

Chili Mac


Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes



  • 1 pound corkscrew shaped pasta with lines or elbows with lines
  • 2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan in a slow stream) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seed and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons dark chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper sauce
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 cup beer or beef broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • Chopped scallions, for garnish


  1. Boil pasta until al dente in a large pot
  2. Meanwhile, use a big, deep pot to brown beef in oil over medium high heat. Add onions, peppers, and garlic. Season meat mixture with cumin, cayenne, salt, and chili powder.
  3. Cook together for 5 minutes, stir in beer or broth, and reduce by half for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain pasta and add hot pasta to chili pot, stirring to coat pasta evenly. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped scallions.

Required Equipment:

  • Large Pot (2)