Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Apple-Picking in New York

This past weekend was a long one (thank you Indigenous People's Day). To celebrate, the boyfriend and I went Upstate to Fishkill Farms for some much anticipated apple picking! The farm itself is quite impressive and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good day in the countryside (kids and dogs are very welcome). We went specifically for apples but the farm also offers pumpkin and kale picking.

Walking past some of the developing orchards
The apple orchards are a short jaunt beyond the farm store and there are several different types, mapped out on a handy sheet of paper that marks which ones are currently in season. When you drive (or walk) to the orchards, you stop to choose the size of picking bag you want first (large = $30, medium = $20, small = $10) but you pay on your way out (my medium bag wasn't full enough to be charged $20 and came out to $11 instead). From there, you park and walk into the orchards. 

I did a quick bit of research on what type of apples I should pick for the ridiculous amounts of baking to follow and made a beeline for the Golden Delicious and Mutsu (a slightly sweeter version of the Golden Delicious and my new favorite for baking). We had to walk back a bit into each section before we saw trees with apples still on them and the ripest ones were of course sunning themselves at the top of each tree. This is where the boyfriend became my hero for jubilantly (he didn't have to be asked twice...or at all) climbing to the top of each tree to nab the apples I pointed to. I stayed on the ground and tried to catch the apples he tossed down *Note - I can't catch, so this didn't end well. 

No, you're not supposed to climb the trees, so if you want a more compliant alternative, we saw a group who had sidled their truck up to a bunch of trees and climbed on the roof - inventive, right?

After you have gathered enough apples to get yourself through a potential apocalypse and realized that apples are heavy and maybe you should have left some of those on the tree, you can head for the farm store, grill, doughnut stand, and ice creamery, passing through check out on your way. While apple-picking was an adventure in and of itself, my favorite part was the farm store and community of food stalls and musicians surrounding it. The store offers everything from apple cider (so good), to locally sourced cheese, meats, vegetables, and pies. I picked up cider, sea salt caramel popcorn, and locally made Kielbasa sausage, multi-colored baby potatoes, and 5 Cipollini onions. The last three were an in-store burst of enlightenment that saved us from having to go out to dinner after an exhausting day and resulted in the most delicious herb-baked potatoes and Kielbasa with an apple cider reduction, which you can see here.

For lunch, the boyfriend volunteered to stand in line for the grill while I geeked out in the farm store. *The lines for the grill, doughnuts, and ice cream (these last two start as the same line and branch out) were quite long but well worth the wait. After obtaining cheeseburgers and freshly grilled corn on the cob (yum), we settled down on the hill beside the store to listen to the band that set up around 2:30pm.

All in all, it was a perfectly wonderful day and my only piece of advice is one that was passed on to me: arrive early, around or slightly before noon if possible. When we left around 3:30/4pm, it was getting very crowded and the kids were getting tired. So come for the vegetable/fruit picking, stay for the shopping, food, and music, and leave before it gets too late/filled with the sobs of tired children who don't understand why the line for the doughnuts is too long.

Ps. stay tuned for apple recipes galore!

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