When You Can Pick-Your-Own at Mack's Apples
A family legacy - The Macks have been growing apples for generations
It was almost 300 years ago — 281 to be exact — that John Mack left Londonderry, Ireland, to settle in Londonderry, NH, with his wife Isabella. He would farm the land, growing potatoes and other crops.
He couldn't have known, of course, but the farm would become a rarity — one that survived into the 21st century, being handed down through eight generations of the Mack family.
"I'm very proud of the heritage and history of the farm," says Andy Mack Sr., family patriarch and a direct descendant of John.
In the mid-1800s, Andy says, the family began to concentrate on growing apples: "My grandfather started growing apple trees for both himself and other people. They'd pay $1 a tree for him to grow the tree for them. A lot of the orchards got started that way."
Today Moose Hill Orchards (so named, as legend has it, because a Mack ancestor bagged a moose on the hill) is home to a thriving business, Mack's Apples. Apple trees occupy 100 acres of the 350-acre farm (it was 400 acres until recently when the family donated 50 acres to the town for a school), and there are also pumpkins, pears, peaches and squash. The apples, pumpkins and other produce are sold at the farmstand on Mammoth Road, along with lots of local products.
If you like pick-your-own, you're in luck. Mack's has 12 separate orchards, each with a variety of apples and many with a pumpkin patch nearby.
Andy says customers favor the Honeycrisp and Mutsu varieties, with the more traditional McIntosh and Red Delicious not far behind. His favorite? "The Macoun. It's been around for a long time. When it's perfect, it's unbeatable."
It appears the pleasure of picking apples at Mack's on an crisp autumn day will continue into the future. All but 28 acres of the farm, which is located in the center of Londonderry, is now preserved with conservation easements bought by the town. That means no development will take place on it — only farming and forestry are allowed.
Picking time for apples depends a lot on the weather, but here are this year's harvest dates for the varieties that Mack's Apples produces.
- Jersey Mac, Tydeman and Paula Red: August 14
- Ginger Gold, Burgundy: August 30
- Jonamac, McIntosh: September 7
- Gala: September 15
- Honeycrisp: September 20
- Cortland: September 25
- Empire, Macoun: September 28
- Red Delicious, Jonagold: October 10
- Mutsu, Golden Delicious: October 15