This weekend, I did the very fall activity that I did this time last year (or rather one week earlier, this time last year). As you can see here, I am nothing if not predictable in my autumn outings. I traveled with many of the same friends, and then went to the exact orchard we went to last year (mostly because we didn't want to do any research). However, apparently going one week later into the end of apple season makes quite a difference. Last year, I remember us basking in the sun by the farmer's market pumpkin patch eating our donuts. This year, it was windy and cold, and we opted for hot cider to go with our donuts because apple cider donuts are lovely and some things are not dependent on the weather.
More importantly as regards apple picking, this year when we got there, they informed us they were out of apples. They claimed this wasn't just because it was late in the season but because the apple crop had been short this season due to storms (I'm looking at you, Hurricane Irene--months later and still ruining my outings). Interestingly, this information did not make it to their website which my friend had specifically checked when she heard rumors of apple shortages.
The thing is, they weren't fully out of apples, they just weren't on the trees any more. They'd taken the last of the crop and put it in big baskets for you to pick from. At first we weren't sure how this was different from choosing apples from the basket at the grocery store, but at least we were amongst the apple trees and a beautiful hour drive into the Hudson Valley. Fall foliage was starting to turn and the air was crisp. Also, as we walked the orchard, my friend Kim quickly discovered that there were in fact a few apples left on the tree waiting for the few and the bold who were willing to climb for them.
Kim climbs to great heights and acquires a single Macintosh for her efforts. Normally, Macs aren't my favorite, but these were crisp, tart, and perfect.
Kim assails yet another tree with apple in her mouth, simultaneously breaking the only two posted rules for the orchard: 1) No climbing the trees, and 2) No eating the apples. The rest of us watch awestruck from the ground.
Those of us with poor climbing foot wear and short limbs as well as those who were recovering from a cold, chose our apples from the bin as instructed. They didn't taste quite as sweet as the hard-won tree apples though.
The orchard also had a pumpkin patch. Those of us attending our Halloween party in a couple of weeks should look out for these bad boys done up Martha Stewart style.
Apples or no apples, it's just nice to get out of the city on a cool fall day.
I now have a mess of apples and am trying to figure out what to do with all of them that is a bit more health conscious than my usual fatty, sugar-filled apple pie or crisp (not that I won't do that too!). Look forward to an apple recipe post soon!