Saturday, November 1, 2008

Afternoon apple adventures

There are two things that I'll miss about Michigan when I move.  One is the fall colors.  This place is beautiful in the fall - I've never seen such vibrant colors.  Unfortunately you can blink and miss it because it usually goes from colorful and crisp outside to brown and bone-chillingly cold in about two weeks.  Right now there are a few trees that still have leaves, but even they are mostly brown and dingy.

The other thing is apples.  I never liked apples growing up, but that's because everyone seems to think that Red Delicious apples are the only kind that exist.  News flash: they lie (they are indeed red, but not delicious... or even edible).  Luckily my apple horizons expanded once I moved up here.  There are about 20 varieties of apples readily available in the fall (both at the markets and at grocery stores).  When I first discovered Honeycrisps, I don't think I ate any other kind of fruit for a few weeks.  And lately I've fallen in love with Jonagolds (they have a very similar taste and texture to Honeycrisps, but are much cheaper).  

I've been meaning to pick some apples again, but haven't been able to find the time for the last few weeks.  Today I had a free afternoon (and it warmed up to 55!), so I headed out for an apple adventure.  There's an orchard a few miles away (one of the benefits to living outside of the city), so I decided to check it out instead of going to the one that's way across town that I've been to before.  This one is a much smaller scale - they have a stand set up with pre-picked apples, bags for picking your own, and gourds (and they also have peaches when they're in season), and a self-pay box.  I picked up my 1/2 bushel bag and headed out to the orchard.  Unfortunately, many of the varieties aren't available this late in the season, but they had Mutsu, Northern Spy, Golden Delicious, and Ida Reds left.  The great thing about picking your own is that you can see what you like.  The Mutsu (aka Crispin) are good - quite crunchy with a somewhat sweet, somewhat tart flavor.  I also really liked the Northern Spy, so I got as many of those as I could find.  And I got a few Golden Delicious (they're not my favorite, but far better than the Red variety).  I'm not a fan of the Ida Reds because they're not crisp, so I passed on those rows.  

It was an adventure to pick because the trees were picked over and I had to climb into the tree to get to them.  It was worth it, though.  I got several months worth of apples for $12, and had a really good time getting them.  The place I've gone in the past is busy (it's also a cider mill and bakery), but this was an entirely different experience.  I only saw 2 people while I was there, and it was really nice to be out in the middle of nowhere and really enjoy the beautiful day without much interruption.  Now the only downside is that I won't be able to put anything else in my crisper drawer for a few months :)

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