Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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NY1 combs the five boroughs, the Hudson Valley and Long Island for interesting outdoor activities and places to see.

Masker Orchards Lets You Have Your Apples and Pick Them Too

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TWC News: Masker Orchards Lets You Have Your Apples and Pick Them Too
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We've hit October, which means it's prime season for apple picking. 
In this edition of New York Outdoors, Time Warner Cable News' Jon Dougherty takes us to one of New York's first pick-your-own apple orchards.

"If you take one off the vine, if you eat into a tree ripe apple, and the juice is running down your chin, and it's so sweet that you can't believe it," says George Vurno, co-owner of Masker Orchards in Warwick.
It's that feeling that's kept Masker Orchards in Warwick in business for over 40 years, each year drawing hundreds of people a day over a 10-week span—many coming from the New York City Area.
"It's a nice little getaway, i mean you just get to be with nature, Central Park is as close as you can get to nature in New York," one apple-picker says.
It's an escape that wouldn't be possible today, if it wasn't for the foresight of Vurno and his business partners.

A struggling Orange County wholesale operation in the 1960s, they soon noticed the amount of people coming to pick what was left at the end of each season.
"We said hey wait a minute, there's an idea here. Let's advertise in New York City, and set aside a part of the Orchard next year," says Vurno.
The response was overwhelming.
"We think we invented it as a business. Everybody had someone gleaning the orchard, but they had never just gone whole hog into pick-your-own," Vurno says.
With pony rides, mazes and other activities for children, Masker Orchards maintains a family atmosphere as sweet as the 14 types of apples people have to choose from.
"Listen, it's all about being with friends and family. It's just a nice meeting place from upstate to the city and just to get out for a little while," says another picker.
For the Brooklyn-bred Vurno, it's not just about the apples. It’s about who you pick them with.
"We don't have very good cell phone service here—which is an advantage, so you can sit and talk and be together—like families. That's what family's all about," says Vurno. ClientIP:, UserAgent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:15.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/15.0.1 Profile: TWCSAMLSP