by Clare Milton
One sure sign of the approaching fall season is local Maine apple orchards welcoming visitors to pick their own apples. This year has been particularly tricky. Lack of rain and hot temperatures have caused apples to drop early. Recent rain and cooler night temps have begun to sweeten the crop and apples are ready for picking.
One Maine Orchard whose family has stewarded the land for four generations is Lemieux’s Orchard on the Priest Hill Road in Vassalboro, Maine. The big red apple sign welcomes you to the orchard and corn maze.
Richard and Debbie Lemieux and their two sons and daughter guide the farm projects. When visiting the farm, especially on the weekends, not only can you and your family venture onto the apple laden pathways, but you can take a horse and wagon tour through the 40 acres that produce 20 varieties of hearty apples. Each year, they host many school tours to their pumpkin patch and orchards.
Lemieux’s corn maze is a 3 acre adventure for you and your kids to explore. $4.00 each or $15.00 for a car full of fun and giggles. Their pick-your-own pumpkin patch is now open.
Debbie and Richard make quite a team. They work together to make your visit special. They grow acres of cucumbers which leads to Debbie’s other passion, pickling! She begins in July processing baby cucumbers into dill and bread and butter. All local favorites are deliciously anticipated. Debbie usually makes 100 jars, but this year due to the drought conditions she could only make 60, so don’t miss out!
Another fall treat made on the weekends are Lemieux’s donuts! Deb, with a little help, makes dozens of apple cider blueberry, apple and pumpkin donuts that sell out fast.
Fresh flashed pasteurized apple cider is a Lemieux’s staple! The sweet taste of fall drank cold or heated mulled cider with a stick of cinnamon is sure to warm you after raking leaves or picking pumpkins.
You may also have seen Lemieux’s Orchard 5 or 10 lb. bags of apples highlighted as a “grown local” item at Hannaford stores all around Maine.
Richard and Debbie’s son, Seth, helps them clean and process thousands of pounds of apples ready to meet all of your favorite recipes needs.
Seth, his wife Alicia, twin daughters Ana and Taylor, brother Jacob and his wife Sarah, and daughter Megan are on hand to help celebrate Maine Apple Sunday on September 18th.
Stop by when you see the “Big Red Apple Sign.” Gather the family and explore the best of Maine’s apple season at Lemieux’s Orchard. 210 Priest Hill Road, Vassalboro, ME. Open Daily 8AM–6PM, 207-873-4354, .