The 2022 apple crop at Hopewell Furnace unfortunately looks to be a disappointing yield. Over half the apple trees did not appear to produce any fruit. Best explanation we have for the very low yield is due to the pruning done to the orchard this past spring, an unexpected freeze in mid-April that occurred after many of the trees had blossmed, and the historic varieties we have in the orchard are known to not produce fruit every few years. It is still helpful to remove the existing apples from the trees so we do still plan to provide the equipment for apple picking. Best practice would be to contact the park visitor center or check out our recent posts on Facebook or Instagram for the latest updates.
Apple Picking is a Family Fun Activity!
One of the earliest mention of an apple orchard at Hopewell Furnace dates back to an April 2, 1788 estate advertisement in the Pennsylvania Gazette, mentioning "an excellent young bearing orchard of about 250 apple trees of the best fruit." Almost all farms had an orchard of several acres to supply the owner's needs, and apples were used at home for cider, apple butter, or dried apples, and on the farm as feed for livestock. The commercial use of apple orchards did not begin until the mid-1800s when improved transportation allowed farmers to ship fresh fruit to the growing cities of New York and Philadelphia.
The orchard at Hopewell Furnace is managed to preserve the historic nature of the orchard in the style of a mid-19th century fruit orchard. Approximately 50 trees were planted in 1942, shortly after Hopewell Furnace was established as a National Historic Site. In 1960, another 150 trees were planted.
Today, more than 25 familiar and historic varieties are available for picking. Park visitors can have their history and eat it too!
Visitors are asked to observe the following courtesies for a safe and enjoyable harvesting experience:
1. Collect apples using a park issued bucket and picking pole.
2. Return bucket(s) and picking pole(s) to the visitor center by 4:15 p.m. on the same day of issue.
3. Please do not climb trees.
4. Please do not lean picking equipment against trees.
5. Be mindful of your footing in the orchard; avoid picking up or stepping on apples as they may contain stinging insects.
6. Please wash apples before consumption. This will remove dirt and scale from the fruit as well as help protect against contamination by bacteria.
Check our Orchard Map for varieties and maturity of trees.