Autumn is apple picking time in Pennsylvania (Applause). The local orchards sell bushels of apples in many varieties good for eating, baking, canning or freezing. Tart and tasty. Sweet and savory. Some orchards let you pick your own for a reduced price. Pickyourown.org is a good source for checking the harvest calendar across the country.
Many of our towns hold AppleFests to applaud this wonderful season. Vendors fill the streets and parks with delicious tasting foods and beverages. Artists and crafters of all kinds display and sell their unique creations. There are games and prizes, costumed performers, and horse-drawn wagon rides. Local farmers arrive with plenty of fresh apples, apple cider, nuts and fall produce for sale.
Photos by Tracy Jamieson
Unfortunately, this year has been a difficult one for fruit growers in the northeast region. We had a very mild March, more like spring than winter. The fruit trees blossomed early, and then a frost in April ruined many of the young buds. Our own apple tree at Maple Grove had beautiful blossoms but, unlike other years, this year we had no apples on our tree. Not even one.
|Our apple tree was full of blooms this Spring|
|The April frost stripped our little apple tree of its tender buds|
In a good producing year, however, we have our own Apple Fest that brings the whole family together for a fun day outdoors. For those of us who like country living or homesteading, we know that this is a large part of why we like it. Living close to the land provides many opportunities for families to work and play together (Applause).
You can't begin the harvesting, however, without first taking time to sample those juicy, ripe apples!
And now we're getting somewhere. (This from me who's standing on the ground with a camera in my hands.)
Now this one's a climber. How high can she go? (I'm feeling a little nervous here.)
A little too high for my comfort.
Our grandchildren also love to be involved in the Apple Fest. It's an inter-generational activity (Applause). We cored, peeled and sliced a bushel of apples that day, moistened them with some fruit preserver, bagged them in quart freezer bags, and froze them to have fresh apples all winter for baking delicious pies and crisps. Those special desserts not only taste wonderful, but they bring to mind the fun we had together as a family on those special apple days of autumn! (Applause).
|They sell these apple peeler/corers where you buy products |
for canning. Ours belonged to my mother-in-law and
brings back many memories for my husband.
When the work of harvesting and freezing apples was completed, we continued our Apple Fest with a feast of marinated grilled meats and buttery sweet corn. . .
. . . and, of course, lots of tart and sweet apple treats! (Applause).
Apple CiderServed hot or cold, each person can add their favorite flavor such as ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon or rum. These are a big hit served in these cute little pedestal mugs. Wet the rim then rub it in a cinnamon and sugar mixture, and bob a chunk of apple on the surface. Or top them with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel syrup. Add a cinnamon stick for flare!
Caramel Cheese DipPour a jar of caramel topping into a serving dish. Mix two 8-oz. packages of cream cheese with an 8-oz container of whipped topping and spread on top of the caramel. Sprinkle crushed candy on top, such as Heath Bar or Butterfinger. Serve with apple slices for dipping. It's like eating a Candied Caramel Apple!
Old-Fashioned Apple PieIt just wouldn't be an Apple Fest without good old-fashioned apple pie.
More posts about enjoying apples.