Sunday, October 12, 2008

Apple Picking

We had a very successful day at Indian Ladders yesterday. The place was packed with other like-minded people; who doesn't want to go pick apples on a sunny beautiful fall day? Unlike last year's adventure, when dwindling supplies of apples made people crabby, there were plenty of ripe apples practically falling from the trees. We filled a bushel bag in about five minutes with gorgeous Empires and Jonagolds. I had wanted to get some Golden Delicious but we didn't have any more room. I hope to go back and pick again maybe later in the season. We also found a handful of huge Red Delicious apples someone had dropped on the way back to the car and I grabbed a couple of those, too. I normally dislike this variety since its supermarket version is alway bland and mealy. But I've had fresh, fragrant crunchy ones fresh from an orchard when I was a kid, so I knew these would be worth a try.

The fall foliage color was simply stunning. The orchards lie at the base of the Helderbergs, and a more picture perfect fall day could not have been ordered. We watched for houses for sale in the area, and there are quite a few. But an unsettling number of McCain/Palin signs in peoples' yards; WTF? At least compared to Obama/Biden signs. Then again most people do not have signs in their yards so who knows what their leanings are?

Now--What to do with all these apples? I still have tons of apples from Brushwood (not as ripe and lovely as these, but all organic!), and now another bushel. I have been storing them on the front porch, but with the weather getting so warm I hope they don't get soft. Maybe I will put them in the basement. I am not much of an applesauce or apple butter person. I'll definitely make some apple crisp. I have been looking into apple wine making and definitely want to give this a go. I still need to get a few bits of equipment: an air lock, a corking machine, and probably a big glass carboy. And the wine yeast.

We also stood in line to get fresh cider doughnuts. Yum. Worth the wait. I had three in the car, warm and soft and covered with sugar. I also bought some whole wheat pancake mix and a jar of red raspberry preserves. The farm also had Pick Your Own raspberries yesterday but when I asked about them the lady behind the counter said there might not be many left so late in the day. Must plan for this next year, and call ahead and get there early.

I enjoy seeing so many people enjoying this yearly ritual. The kids love running around and playing in the orchards. People can;t wait to open their jugs of cider and swig from them standing in the sunshine. There are Clydesdale horses pulling a wagon, and hayrides and a petting zoo, plus people picnicking or just sitting on the ground amid the orchards. I don't like seeing so many apples with single bites taken out of them and discarded on the ground, but amid such bounty I guess people think nature is an endless fount of abundance. Yesterday, this seemed very true. Here's to a beautiful harvest season.

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