Apple Orchard

close up of bright white and pink blossoms on a tree
Apple Blossoms in Hopewell's Orchard

NPS Photo/A.Kane

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of a man” -Henry David Thoreau (essay “Wild Apples” 1862)

close up of three apples hanging from the branch of a tree

NPS Photo/Greg Bullough


The earliest mention of an orchard at Hopewell Furnace is a 1788 Pennsylvania Gazette article highlighting the sale of the estate, describing it as "an excellent young bearing orchard of about 250 apple trees of the best fruit.” In the late 1700s at least one orchard existed on or near the furnace property including one in the general location of the present-day orchard.

In Hopewell’s height (1820-1840) at least two distinct orchards existed on site. A peach orchard is known to have existed at Hopewell Furnace in 1835 and other orchards were owned by the furnace and rented to neighboring farmers. Furnace records indicated the sale of apple butter, dried apples, vinegar, and cider in the company store. Records also expressed that “trimming” of apple trees and picking of apples occurred in this period.

In Hopewell’s decline (1846-1883) park records showed that the orchard was maintained, and that clover, oats, corn, and potatoes were cultivated among the trees. In December 1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps set up camp at Hopewell Furnace to clear underbrush, build roads and excavate lakes. In 1940 the CCC assisted with at least partial replanting of the apple orchard north of the old Reading/Valley Forge Road.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site was officially established in 1938. By the 1970s, the park regularly maintained the orchard.

Today, the orchard contains about 148 trees ranging from saplings to the CCC planted trees of almost 100 years old!

Orchard Management Today

The goal of Hopewell Furnace National Historic Sites’ orchard management strategy is to give visitors a visual impression of what an orchard would have looked like in the 1800s.

  • The current management strategy is a good balance between maintaining historic character, as well as ongoing park operations like educational programs and the U-pick programs.
  • The trees get pruned regularly, usually in early spring. The goal of the pruning style is to emulate the tall tree canopies that would have been prevalent in 19th century orchards.
  • In addition to pruning, the park manages disease, pests, and workplans to maintain the orchard on a yearly basis.
collage of three images sitting side by side. Left image depicts a large apple tree standing in a row of trees bathed in sunlight. Middle photo depicts a close up of an apple on a branch. Right photo depicts rows of apple trees when they were in bloom
Visitors are welcome to wander the orchard any time of the year. The park will advertise when apples are ready to be picked.

NPS Photos/ A.Kane


Orchard Regulations

  • Apples taken from the orchard must be paid for. Apples are one dollar per pound and can be weighed and paid for at the Visitor Center.
  • Do not pick apples that are not ready/ ripe. Reference the orchard map and table below to find out which varieties are ripe. Fruit is ripe if it easily comes off the tree.
  • U-Pick hours are 9 AM to 4 PM.
  • Check in at the Visitor Center before picking apples.
  • Do not climb the trees. Fruit trees are easily damaged. Use hand pickers located at the Visitor Center to reach ripe fruit.
  • Leashed pets are permitted inside the orchard.
  • Your safety is your responsibility.

All money collected from fruit sales supports the park. Non-payment of orchard fees may result in citation and fine.

Detailed map with data points of the apple varieties present in Hopewell's orchard.
A large version of the orchard map will be available for visitors to view outside of the Visitor Center. Check in at the Visitor Center before you pick and after you finish to pay.



Apple Varieties, Uses, and Harvest Times

Depending on weather throughout the growing season, harvest times can vary up to a few weeks or later than the ranges given below. For updated harvest times, call the park Visitor Center at 610-582-8773. Harvest times will also be updated on the park’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Apple varieties available to pick in Hopewell's orchard
Variety Month Uses History
Wealthy July through September pies, sauces, cider Developed by horticulturalist Peter Gideon of Excelsior, Minnesota. Introduced in 1893.
Early Harvest late July to early August fresh eating, pies, sauces, desserts Believed to have originated in the 1700s in what is now Long Island, New York.
Duchess mid August fresh eating, pies, sauces Originated in Russia in the late 1700s. Brought to America in 1835.
Summer Rambo August to early September pies, sauces, desserts Originated in the village of Rambures France prior to its first documentation in 1536. Have been widely grown in Eastern U.S. since 1767.
Gravenstein late August to early September fresh eating, pies, sauce Two possible origins. Circa 1660 Italy, wood from the trees were propagated in Jutland Denmark. The other story details the variety being grown from seeds originating from Holland.
Lodi late August to early September fresh eating, cooking, baking, sauces Originated at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1911. This variety was developed by taking the pips of the Yellow transparent and crossed with pollen from the Montgomery variety.
Starr early September cooking Found as a chance seedling on John Starr's farm near Woodburg New Jersey in the late 1700s.
Rome September all-purpose, pies, cider First identified in 1846. Considered one of the best baking apples.
Smokehouse September fresh eating, cooking, baking, cider This variety developed in the early 1800s from a chance seedling that grew near the smokehouse of William Gibbons near Millcreek in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Thompkins King September fresh eating, baking, cider This variety was originally found growing in Warren County of New Jersey and was brought to Tompkins County New York in 1804.
Mother mid to late September fresh eating, pies Originated on the farm of General Stephen Gardner in Bolton Massachusetts sometime before 1844 when it was listed in the "Magazine of Horticulture."
Baldwin late September to Early October fresh eating, cider, pies Originated in Wilmington Massachusetts in 1784. The Baldwin apple was at one point the most popular in New England.
Cortland late September fresh eating, baking Developed in Geneva, New York in 1898 at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.
Delicious late September to early October fresh eating Discovered in Peru Iowa as a chance seedling in the 1870s.
Grimes Golden late September to early October fresh eating, apple sauce Found as a wild seedling in Brooks County, West Virginia in the 1800s. Ancestry is obscure since it likely grew unnoticed from a discarded apple core.
Jefferis late September to early October fresh eating, cider Arose as a chance seedling in Chester County, Pennsylvania in the early 1830s. Seedling was on the farm of Isaac Jefferis.
Jonathan late September to early October cider Found growing on the farm of Philip Rick in Woodstock, New York in the early 1800s.
McIntosh late September all purpose John McIntosh discovered the original sapling on his farm in upper Canada in 1811. He cultivated the fruit and started selling it in 1835.
Yellow Bellflower late September pies, sauces Originated as a wild seedling in Burlington County, New Jersey in the mid 1700s.
Rome Beauty late September to early October cooking, cider This chance seedling was found in 1816 by Joel Gillett. He found this seedling among 100 apple trees he had purchased from a nursery in Marietta, Ohio.
Rhode Island Greening late September to early October fresh eating, cooking, pies Grown from a pippin in the mid 1600s by the tavern keeper at Green's End near Newport, Rhode Island.
Roxbury Russet late September to early October pies, sauces, dessert, cider Generally recognized as the oldest apple variety originating in North America. Was first discovered and named in mid 1600s Roxbury (part of present-day Boston).
Campfield October pies, sauces, cider Originated in the latter half of the 1700s near present-day Newark, New Jersey.
Golden Russet October fresh eating, cider Originated in Horshum, West Sussex of the United Kingdom. An old English heritage variety.
Kerry Irish Pippin October fresh eating This heritage apple had been grown for some time in counties Kikenny and Antrim in Ireland before it was first mentioned in a 1802 statistical survey of the county by the Royal Dublin Society.
Newtown Pippin October fresh eating, sauces, pies George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were two noted admirers of this fruit. Found as a chance seedling during the early 1700s in the village of Newtown (present-day Long Island).
Turley Winesap early October baking, cooking, cider Introduced in 1900 by horticulturalist Joe A. Burton in Lawrence County, Indiana.
Ashmed's Kernal late October fresh eating, cooking, sauces, cider Known as an old English winter russet apple. The first tree originated from a seed planted around 1700 by a Dr. Thomas Ashmead in Gloucester.
Northern Spy late October fresh eating, pies, cider Grown by Heman Chapin near East Bloomfield, New York around 1800.
Spitzenburg late October fresh eating, cooking, pies, cider Found in the mid 1700s as a seedling growing along the banks of the Hudson River near present day Ulster County, New York.
Stayman mid to late October fresh eating, pies, sauces, cider First grown by Dr. Stayman of Leavenworth, Kansas in the 1860s.
York late October fresh eating, cooking Originated in the late 1700s in York, Pennsylvania.

Last updated: September 5, 2023

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2 Mark Bird Lane
Elverson, PA 19520


610 582-8773

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