September marks the beginning of Fall – the time of year when the leaves begin to turn. It is also the time of year when summer crops are harvested.
Where I come from , the leaves remain unchanged but there is a change of seasons too. The monsoons normally make a retreat and the farmers begin to prepare for harvest.
Being a very urban dweller , I’ve only occasionally harvested chillies or tomatoes and the odd brinjal from my father’s garden. So I was very keen on an apple picking trip to Alstede Farms in New Jersey. This was to be one of Ms. Papaya’s last few outings before the winds turned chillier .
It was an unusually hot Saturday with absolutely no cloud cover . But this didn’t seem to deter the tons of visitors that day. Luckily Alstede Farms is really big enough and there weren’t any long lines or waits for the tickets, hayrides or even the delicious hand churned ice cream at the end .
The hayrides and produce plucking is very we’ll organised. After buying a ticket which was tagged to our wrist, we were given a carton that we could fill with whatever produce we chose – apples, peaches, pumpkins and even bell peppers and tomatoes !
We decided to go for the hayride and see the entire farm before getting off at various spots to pick the fruit . It was a lovely drive through undulating lands with corn fields, potato patches and of course rows of fruit trees.
After the hayride, we walked through the apple orchard and picked out the fruit. Ms Papaya was thrilled to pluck off the low hanging fruit . After we paid for what we’d picked , we grabbed some fresh hand churned ice cream and came home happy and content .
Did you know that there are lots of apples ? The ones we got to pick were:
Fuji – Tiny , crunchy and super sweet
Gala – crisp and very sweet
Macoun – Firm and great for making Dutch Apple pie
McIntosh – Red and green skin now known universally thanks to Apple Technologies.
We finished off with a round of the Farmers Market and a generous helping of ‘kiddie sized’ hand churned ice cream!
Now all that’s left for me to do is to make those delicious apples into a yummy Dutch Apple Pie !
Watch this space for more .
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