Abbie, Andy and I went apple-picking on Sunday. Why? Because it’s the fall, and that’s what you do. Actually, it seemed like a nice activity to get me out of the city for a little while. A bit of back to nature, if you will.
Abbie had rented a car for the weekend and generously agreed to do the driving for Andy and I. The planning was somewhat haphazard. We sorta got up in the morning and said, “Ok, who knows an orchard?”. Well, Abbie had just been up to Wicker, NY and had passed an orchard called Masker, so we figured that that was just as good as any. So that’s where we went.
The drive wasn’t bad at all. 90 minutes or so with pleasant company is just fine by me. The orchard itself is beautiful. It’s on a hill and it’s set up in sections that are about 5 acres each. At the top of the hill is a beautiful view of farms across the road, which are on similar rolling hills. As we pulled into the Orchard, the traffic was being directed by a boy no older than 10. It was a little surreal, but we quickly found out that the entire farm had lots of children working there. Whether they were kids of other employees or it was something the community did was unclear. As we drove up the hill, we were stopped by a child who handed us a bag to put our apples in. The bag had a map on the back and each section was labeled clearly with the breed of apples in that section. There was a sign on the road telling us to tune to a certain FM channel to hear news about the orchard. When we did, we found out that the only apples that were ripe for picking were the McIntoshes. Uh, oh. Andy doesn’t like McIntoshes. But that’s all they had.
We parked at the top of the hill and started looking around. Some of the trees were marked as being unripe for picking, but some weren’t marked at all. And we didn’t really know what the apples were supposed to look like! So we frantically went from grove to grove, tasting apples as we picked them off the tree. Finally, after going back down to the information shack to get some decent advice on where to pick, we were led to the proper grove and the apple picking started in earnest. Of course, by this time, we were too tired and it was too hot for us to do too much picking. We were planning on making fresh apple pies later with the apples we picked so we knew we only needed about 30 or so. It only took us a few minutes, with Abbie adventurously climbing some of the trees to get the choicest fruit.
Once we had our fruit in hand, we filled up a bag and headed on home. We knew we were going to need some groceries, so we decided to head home the long way to stop at Stew Leonard’s and Costco in Yonkers. If you’ve never been to Stew’s, it’s sort of like Disneyland, with food. A lot of fun. We had freshly made apple doughnuts and a few other choice samples of food while we piled our cart full of wonderful foodstuffs. And then it was back in the car to go back home.
When we got back, we had to unload a whole bunch of stuff into Andy’s apartment. It took what seemed like hundreds of mini trips shuttling back and forth. From the car to the curb, from the curb to the front door, from the door to the elevator, from the elevator to the hallway, from the hallway to the apartment. I was exhausted by the time we finished! When Abbie came in after returning the rental car, we were all so tired we ended up taking a nap on the couch for half an hour. But after we got up, Andy put we to work peeling and chopping the apples. Abbie prepared the other pie ingredients and Andy played captain, making sure everything was perfect. After much chopping, peeling, mixing and stirring, the pie was ready to be put into the oven. Some of Andy’s friends dropped by and wine was served. While the smell of the pies drifted through the apartment, we had some nice conversations and wine and it was really quite…adult. Like something out of a movie. But really nice. However, when the pies were done, Andy insisted on serving it right away. Now, I know pies need to sit in order to set, but I wasn’t about to argue with the host. So we ended up having apple-flavored goop, which was delicious, even if it wasn’t exactly pie. And we *still* had 15 apples left over! J
It was a great way to spend a Sunday and I thank Abbie and Andy for being so good about it all. Next time, we’ll pick a better orchard with a better layout.