Today we embarked on one of my favorite fall traditions (which has come to be associated with Halloween due to the timing and what is done with the supplies): apple picking. Every year I drag my boyfriend out to the orchards and make him haul around a bucket of apples. And every year I look up recipes for apple crisps or other fancy apple-centered desserts and then end up eating all the apples before I actually get around to using any of them in a recipe. But that’s all part of the tradition.
Orchards, in my opinion, are magical places. Seeing all the rows of trees looking all neat and orderly, lined up acre after acre is sort-of amazing. And the smell is just- oh! I know it’s because of fermenting apples but it smells like mulled cider with a little bit of freshly tilled garden-smell mixed in. And most orchards I’ve been in are on tall hills so the wind whips over them and carries that scent with it. Not to mention the apples themselves. My method of selecting the varieties I will take home is to pluck one of the branch, wipe it off, take a bite and decide if I want more. I eat a lot of apples in the process of apple picking and I love every bite. Plus we have sometimes been known to play rowdy games of kick the apple or apple bowling with the bigger ones. All in all it’s an awesome day.
Plus, because orchards get a lot of business in October, there’s always other activities. The orchard we’ve been going to for the past few year has live music, carnival-type food (those apple cider donuts are to die for, not to mention the caramel apples, fudge, fried dough…*drool*), and a farmers market where we buy fresh cider and apple butter. Plus there’s a petting zoo and a goat that we’ve come to call super goat because he climbs on this walkway they’ve built for him that goes out of his pen up to above the stage area. There’s a little bowl up there so you can send up food for him and watch him eat from way overhead. Plus the pumpkins, gourds, fall crafts like scarecrows and wreaths and a bunch of other goodies. For me, it’s paradise. And it’s a fundamental part of what makes this holiday, and this month, the best of the year.