Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't Judge an Apple by Its Worm Hole...
On one special day each fall, my family packs into the car and drives west to go apple picking. After miles and miles of cornfields, we finally reach the big red barn and tidy rows of trees marking the entrance to Honey Hill Orchard. This year, we decided to go early to beat the rush. Instead, we nearly missed apple-picking season all together.

“Where are all the apples?” my middle son wondered as we pulled up to the barn. The trees seemed empty. “Orchard clean-up day,” a farmer explained. “Anything you can find-half price.” It turns out an overabundance of rain and hail early in the season did a number on this year’s apple crop. Still, we hadn’t driven nearly an hour to turn back empty-handed. We marched over to the first row of trees, determined to fill our reusable Trader Joes bags with those last, perfect Jonagolds, Goldens, and Cortlands clinging to hidden branches. As a bonus, we had the orchard nearly to ourselves.

“Got one!” my youngest son yelled, holding up a Red Delicious riddled with black spots. “Hmm,” I said. “Let’s keep looking.” After searching a few more rows, we realized that every apple left on the trees was damaged in some way. A bruise here. A bug bite there. I quickly lost my picky air. If the skin wasn’t too badly pierced and the texture still firm, the apple passed inspection. Before long, our bags were filled.

This year, the apples we brought home weren’t perfect-looking, but once we peeled the skins, cut off a few brown spots, and cooked them with a little cinnamon, they sure made some perfect apple sauce- for half the usual price. Orchard clean-up day may be our new family tradition!

If you live in the Chicago area, check out Honey Hill Orchard:

Otherwise, to find an orchard near you, visit:

Coming soon: A review of some perfect apple-picking picture books!

No comments:

Post a Comment