Tuesday, October 11, 2011

autumn treasure: apples

Although it has been unseasonably warm this past week, my internal clock is telling me that I should be eating all things apple right now.  Growing up in suburban - on the edge of rural - Massachusetts, I remember going apple picking almost every fall - Honeypot Orchards (I think it was called) or some other family-type establishment.  People would travel to our area just to see the amazing fall foliage and pick our apples.  We even grew up singing the Johnny Appleseed prayer, "O the Lord is good to me and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need like the sun and the rain and the apple seed.  The Lord is good to me."  Apple orchards, to my mind, are grassy, hilly, not very crowded and you can buy apple cider and maybe another apple product or two from a quaint but functional farm building.  You park on the grass, you pick apples and then you pay for your bags.  Lovely.

Last weekend we attempted some apple picking with a few friends.  A rather long journey out to farm country brought us to this less-than-idyllic sight:

We didn't end up with apples that day. [Long story short - there were so many people there that while we were waiting in line to get in to pick apples, we were told that we were no longer guaranteed that there were apples on the trees, so we'd have to pick them out of bins.  We said no to that.]   But the weather was beautiful and we had wonderful company.  Still, our desire for apples, and lots of them, was as of yet unfulfilled.  This weekend, we had equally beautiful weather and headed out once again in search of a different orchard experience.  We picked one that advertised "no corn maze or hay rides or entrance fees" as well as "heirloom apples."  We were not disappointed!

Braeburns, Blushing Golden, Jonathan, windfall McIntosh, heirloom Snow and Spitzenburg.  *sigh* There is something just so wonderful about apples.  The trees carry a kind of history with them.  It takes quite a while for an orchard to come into full production - many, many years.  In that way, planting an orchard is different than planting a garden.  When you plant small fruit trees, you are committing to care for that land for most of your lifetime (or hoping that someone else will if you must leave). 

This orchard that we visited was clearly a family operation.  One part of the barn is devoted to World War II models and collector's items that I assumed belong to the elderly gentleman who ran the counter, who I would also assume has owned this land for much or all of his life.  If (or maybe when) we find the right land for homesteading, I hope it already has a few fruit trees.  This is quite a lot to hope for, but part of me just doesn't want to wait so long to get a full harvest of fruit!  We shall see, for that's still somewhere in the future.  For now, I will content myself to imagine and romanticize the past of the family orchards where we gather our apples for crisps, cider, jams and delicious snacking.  Apples, above all other seasonal treats, allow me to welcome autumn with open arms.

1 comment:

  1. I think I have to go eat an apple now :) (except ours are picked from the bin at Aldis....)