Archive for the ‘Apple Picking’ Category

The very essence of autumn signals a transition period. Its arrival marks the end of backyard barbeques and beach parties that are hallmarks of the lazy days of summer. The brisk morning air and the beginnings of red, orange, and yellow leaves are nature’s ways of preparing for the cold and brisk months of winter.

Summer may be over but fall can bring lots of fun activities too. Apple picking in late September has become a bit of a tradition with my fiancé and her parents. It’s an activity that almost anyone can do, promotes healthy eating, and is affordable. Not to mention the many different foods you can make with apples. Homemade applesauce, apple butter, and the classically American apple pie all can be easily made with a sack full of freshly picked apples.

This year we visited Masker Orchard in Warwick, New York. Here you can pick all kinds of apples, from Macintoshes to red delicious and jonagolds and cortlands. Different apples ripen at different times so you might want to check their ripening schedule online. Macintoshes ripen in the second week of September; jonagolds and red delicious apples are ready in September’s third and fourth weeks. Going yesterday, we were able to fill our bags mostly with red delicious and Macintosh apples.

When you arrive at Masker Orchards, turn your radio to 87.9 FM and you’ll find a running loop of a character named “Apple Steve” giving you advice for a great apple picking experience. I found his rouse comical as he espouses “to do the right thing” by “respecting the apples.” With the pop-crackling of a 1940s phonograph, Apple Steve advises his guests to respect the apples and compares the taste of cider to “liquid apples.”

Masker charges by the bag so be sure to stuff them as best you can. One bag will cost $18.25, which is a steal if you utilize all its space. The teenage boys and girls who greet you at the entrance will hand you enough bags. If you find yourself needing more, ask one of the attendants and they’ll be happy to give you more.

At the end of our trip, we took home two bags and two full quarts of cider. My fiancé and I managed to pick a few tiny pickings for our pet hamster and dragged home enough Macintoshes and red delicious apples for an apple pie or two. True, this trip marks the end of summer but after savoring the cinnamon-spiced flavor of a home-cooked pie, I think I can embrace the onset of fall. Maybe.
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