In October, our family always schedules a visit to a local apple orchard. Apples are in season and there are many varieties to choose from. We like to support the local farmers and it is a good way to teach children about growing fruit. Most of the orchards open to the public on the weekends and allow you to pick your own. There are many varieties of apples to choose from for sauces, baking and eating. The orchards generally have hay rides and other fun family activities for your participation.
We do this as a family day out and it is always a fun outdoor day. The orchards also have pumpkins and these are nice and colorful to pick as well. Put them outside the front door or on your porch as a seasonal fall decoration. One of our favorites is the apple doughnuts. OMG, they are sooo delish!
It is easy to pick many apples, as the low hanging branches allow for easy picking. Don’t pick the apples on the ground, as they may be wormy or rotten. The orchards usually give you big brown bags for the apples; we like to bring green bags as they are sturdy and are easy to carry with the handles.
The orchards are very crowded in October, so expect a crowd. Many schools also plan a trip to the orchards as well as an educational activity.
When returning home, we try and plan an ‘apple event’ – cooking something with the apples the same day. In the days to follow, we will make many apple dishes. This month, we have posted several on the web site, along with guidelines on the different types of apples and their uses.
As a reminder, apple cider is in abundant supply this month. To serve to guests, heat the gallon, and infuse it with a cinnamon stick, nutmeg and cloves. The farm markets also sell an infusion for the cider in the form of a teabag with the same ingredients.