Saturday, October 16, 2004

Apple Picking

There was a bit of a damp chill in the air this morning when we woke, threatening to derail our plans for apple picking. But a quick check of the weather report reassured us (chilly and partly cloudy, but no rain) and we decided to head out after breakfast. We gobbled down some oatmeal and juice, got the kids bundled up and into the van and set out for the 30 minute drive to Larriland Farm.

Despite the suburban setting of our home, and our proximity to Washington, you can be out in rolling hills and farmland in a matter of minutes. The clouds were starting to roll in as we began our drive, but the sky was still mostly a brilliant blue. Hearing Mother Nature's autumn call, the trees had begun turning their leaves to those wonderful fall shades of red and gold. The kids were delighted to see cows and horses grazing in the open fields of brown and green as we drove by. They waved excitedly, but the animals didn't seem to pay us much attention. It's really a great drive this time of year.

Once we arrived at the farm, we parked the van and proceeded to the orchard on foot, each of us with an empty bag to fill with our fall bounty. We had to keep reminding the kids not to pick the fruit off the ground, but they had a great time as we hiked up and down the row after row of trees. It started to rain lightly (despite the forecast) but the kids, like the horses and cows, didn't seem to notice much as they happily chomped on their just-picked apples.

Apples are a staple in our house, but at the grocery store I usually don't buy more than 5 or 6 at a time because I'm afraid they'll go bad before we eat them all. But there's something about walking through an orchard, and picking them fresh, that you just can't settle for 5 or 6. When we finally came to the little cart to have our bags weighed and pay for our apples, we were told we had 28 pounds! That's a lot of Braeburns and Staymans, in case you're wondering.

Well, as we walked back to the van, my wife started thinking about what we could do with all them. We certainly had enough to make a couple pies and then some. Anybody have any recipe ideas?

We finished off our little adventure with some hot apple cider and apple fritters back at the barn. Then we packed ourselves back into the van, tummies and tastebuds satisfied, and headed for home.

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