The Big Apple Picking

Sara drove Bannack and I upstate to an apple orchard to pick our own half bushel of some of the best tasting sweet apples I’ve ever eaten. Cars filled the parking lot outside the gift shop. Inside we bought our bag to fill and got advice on where to pick from a muscle shirted guy standing in front of his date, “Go all the way back.”

Back around the shop there was a duck pond, a pumpkin patch, chickens, goats and a rustic tree lined trail up to the orchard. I’ve never seen apples hang so heavily from trees before. Some branches were broken from the weight.

By the time we got to the top of a hill a man eating a huge stalk of broccoli stopped his light-duty four wheeler. I asked him where to find the best tasting apples and he pointed the way down the other side of the hill to a row of trees right on the edge of the farm. As he pulled away I noticed a bottle of beer in his cup-holder.

We charged down the path feeling a little like trespassers, the little road had a more private feeling than the open orchard. Down in the trees though it was near paradise.  Apples from the first few trees were all of the same type but some were sweeter, some crisper, some more subtle. All astoundingly delicious, especially the ones that grew high up in the sunshine. We filled our half-bushel basket to the brim in no time and carried our loot back to the car talking about all the wonderful things we’d make with all these apples.

The next day Sara and I peeled, cored and sliced (by hand) about three quarters of the apples to make applesauce, spiced apple butter and enough canned apple pie filling for 6 pies. Last night we made a pie and even though I undercooked it—by just a little—it was just as tasty as if it was picked fresh off an apple pie tree. Apparently this sudden family obsession with apples extended all the way back to Montana. My mother sent this photo of the apple press my father cleaned up that they will use to make cider this year when their apples come in. Maybe a little applejack too? I hope so.


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  1. Aunt Colleen,

    I drove by several Apple orchards on my way home from the lake house…thinking about them… but no time to stop :(