Sunday, October 4, 2009
Birthday Trip to the Apple Orchard
I was inspired by my sister Sarah's blog a week ago or so that featured pictures of her, my sister Barb, my mom and I waaaaay back when we were still living at home. We were at a pumpkin festival somewhere in northern NY state. Going "up north" was a favorite trip in the fall when we picked apples, bought cider and picked up a pumpkin or two for Halloween.
So since my birthday is this weekend and it's that fall time of the year, I decided to invite my kids to join me on a trip out to Wilcox, AZ which is a big farming community. One of their big claims to fame is Apple Annie's, a giant orchard where you can pick all kinds of apples and at other times of the year, peaches and more. They also have down the road, a huge pumpkin patch surrounded by fields of all kinds of other veggies you can pick yourself - squash, peppers, cucumbers, corn - you name it.
My husband wasn't able to go with us yesterday, so it was my daughter, Tamara, my son Jesse and his girlfriend who we love, Rachael who all piled into my Camry and off we went. Well we didn't get too far before Jesse was wondering about eating, so we pulled into a Denny's and ate and yacked it up. It was a little cold yesterday so we all had sweatshirts on - finally after 100+ degree weather all the way through summer and September! We weren't sure fall was ever going to get here this year.
Wilcox is a good two hours from home, so we talked, played with Tamara's ipod and enjoyed the ride. It's been four or five years since I'd been out to Wilcox and only Jesse had been there with me before. Apple Annie's has the whole program - the u-pick orchards, a grill where hundreds of big fat burgers get flipped onto customers' waiting buns all day long, a bakery that turns out pies to die for and all kinds of relishes, apple butters, salsas and more. It's incredible. As soon as you walk onto the property you smell the scent of burgers mixed with pies baking and cider vinegar from old apples on the ground. You also see people walking around with plates filled with pie and huge slabs of vanilla ice cream. This is definitely not a Weight Watchers destination, but one worth treating yourself to when you've been very, very good.
So armed with buckets and a device that helps you reach up into the trees to get the fruit, we headed off into the orchard. There were Fujis, Romes, Granny Smiths and Golden Delicious ready this weekend. Later on in the fall some other types of apples will be coming on.
Of course we picked way more apples that we would ever buy at the store - just because it's so fun to pick 'em. We had a great time. The clouds that threatened rain and hid the sun earlier all cleared away and this bright blue sky opened up on one of the most beautiful days we've had in Arizona in a months.
After we paid for and stowed our apple haul in the car we went back for pie. Jesse and Rachael had the apple berry pie a la mode and Tamara and I split an apple dumpling and stole a little chunk of ice cream from them since we didn't need a whole slab. Oh, it was good.
The pumpkin picking was 6 miles away, so we jammed down there by about 2 p.m. Of course the plan was to get a pumpkin each, but as soon as we saw the other veggies, they were too hard to resist.
Perfect pumpkins were everywhere.
The zucchini squash was pretty much picked out, but Tamara and Rachael rescued two giants as you can see. Not sure how good they'll be to eat, but Tamara says she's going to stuff and mount hers anyway!
Jess, being the only guy, was the designated hauler of the veggies.
Good thing we didn't have more time on our hands! The trunk was packed pretty tight by the time we got done.
We had a really great time and can't wait to go back again. It was definitely reminiscent of the good times I had with my parents many years ago. I wish my husband, Les had been able to join us, but hopefully next time. He spent most of the day crawling around under his daughter Gina's house working on a plumbing problem. Do you think he would have that been eating pie in the Arizona sunshine? You bet!
Anyway, thanks Sarah for the inspiration! Wish you and Barb could have been with us. Sarah, have a great birthday on Wednesday!