Real Apple Picking

IMG_0898The apple picking season is almost over for the year (the last weekend is next weekend) and we really didn’t have enough apples to do much with, so K and I headed out to try a new fruit farm – Altamont Orchards.  We are surrounded by farms here (fruit and otherwise) and while we must have been to 6-8 different farms in past year, we still haven’t gone to even half of them!  We still haven’t made it out to any of the “meat” farms, lamb, cattle, goat, deer.  I have been taking my farmer’s words at the farmers market that they treat their animals the way they say they do. And I’m sure they do (I’ve seen pictures) but it’s on my list of 101 things in 1001 days to do that.

So we headed to Altamont Orchards for the first time.  They seem to be cheaper than Indian Ladder, at $.50/lb of apples!  We’re used to getting a half-bushel bag at the start of the picking, but here they encourage you to bring your own bags because they charge you $.50/bag here.  If only we had known.

K picking apples

K picking apples

Indian Ladder also limited the “fields” to which you could pick.  Here, we could anywhere we wanted! For baking and canning, you need a good mixture of types of apples, so we picked every kind we could:

  • Empire (2nd best)
  • Red Delicious (ick, not a fan)
  • Jonagold
  • Red Spy
  • Cortland
  • Crispin (my favorite!)

And we already have 2 other kinds at home: Macoun and Gala.

It's a tunnel of apples

It's a tunnel of apples

Being that there were so many different kinds there, I took the opportunity to do taste tests, because believe it or not, I don’t like most plain apples. Apple pie, applesauce, they’re just fine (ok, obviously it’s the sugar I love) but I have always found apples not sweet enough for me.

I know you’re in shock – apples not sweet enough? But it’s true. But today I absolutely fell in love with the Crispin and the Empire.  Red Delicious on the other hand, ick ick ick. 🙂

What’s YOUR favorite kind of apple?

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So we picked a half-bushel more of apples to go with our two half-pecks from Indian Ladder.  Still, they don’t all look that great.  This year just must have been terrible for the farmers around here. The Cortlands are kind of spotty and a lot of the apples on the trees had fungus.  It looks like they spray at least a little bit but it certainly didn’t do very much.  Indian Ladder seems to be better in that respect, they use low-spray (spot-treating, rather than spraying everywhere) and natural predators to take care of harmful pests.

Apple shed

Apple shed

But we easily picked our half-bushel and went to pay, only to find out the whole thing was a flat $10! Pretty cool, our peck at Indian Ladder (a peck is 1/4 of a bushel) was $11.50 in itself, and PYO there is $14 per 1/2 bushel.

Time to get cracking on all the appley-things I want to make!

Quasi-Apple Picking

IMG_0865Re-capping part of my weekend, a bunch of friends and the two of us went “apple picking” at Indian Ladder farm.  I’ve said before that I love this place.  It’s now run by a 5th generation of the Ten Eyck family and is more than 300 acres.

I’ve been apple and pumpking picking there since I moved to this area, gulp! 6 years ago now, but what keeps me coming back in addition to the fruits and market are the cider donuts and apple cider.  What’s apple picking without them?

But I have “apple picking” in quotes because we all wussed out this weekend.  We ended up getting on line for the cider donuts and cider, and it took 45 minutes to get to the front!! After that, we were in no mood to pick, so K and I ended up buying two half pecks of apples – Macoun and Gala to get started on apple pies.  Not that we ended up doing anything with them this weekend anyways, but one thing that’s great about apples is they last almost all winter if you keep them in a cool, dark place.

We might go apple picking again in a few weeks, because I have a lot of plans for apples this fall!  Apple sauce, apple butter, and I really want to can apple pie filling.  I read that it takes 2 quarts of apple pie filling for one 9.5 inch pie, so I need to can a lot! Seems like that’ll be great presents as well!

Who wants to go on a hay ride?

Who wants to go on a hay ride?

Look at the size of that massive Clydesdale!

Look at the size of that massive Clydesdale!

The big barn at Indian Ladder

The big barn at Indian Ladder

Kris, me and Am posing in the distance on the line that took forever

Kris, me and Am posing in the distance on the line that took forever

Time to make the cider donuts!

Time to make the cider donuts!