We’re out of whack this season when it comes to picking apples. It’s like this every year. Either we’re too early and head out when it’s still September or we’re really late and end up at the orchard towards the middle of October. I’d say the first week in October is probably the best. September has the tendency to hover in the 80 degree temperature range and that’s absolutely terrible for apple picking. Too late in October and you run the risk of having nothing to pick. It’s a delicate balancing act.
Since Laura and I were heading down to Hannaford this afternoon to pick up some ingredients for a few upcoming recipes on my other blog, I thought we really should stop by a nearby orchard to grab a few apples. We usually do our picking at North Star, but since we were in Skowhegan, Cayford Orchards was a better fit. We’re actually planning a second apple picking escapade this year, so maybe North Star will be a contender.
Today’s visit was fast. There were hardly any apples left on the trees and we had chores to do. The lighting was also very bright, so we weren’t in any position to be hanging around taking photographs of trees, equipment, etc. In the most basic sense, I wanted apples. I need them for some pies I have planned for the future and you can’t get the good ones any cheaper than you can when you pick them yourself.
The orchard was beautiful. It sits on top of a small mountain and the trees follow the side of a hill as it slopes downward. It sort of reminds me of the one we used to visit in Stockbridge, Massachusetts – Windy Hill. While the Windy Hill orchard was fairly large, Cayford is relatively small. It does have a wide variety of apples though, which is great. From the limited exploring we did, I can definitely see that a longer visit could be very fun.
I’m not sure we were supposed to pick some of the apples we did. Upon arriving, I was explicitly instructed to pick only from the trees that had ribbons attached to them. The thing is, when I listen to instructions, it’s sort of like when I listen to someone’s name the first time I meet them. Or when I listen to driving directions when someone gives them to me. My eyes fog over and I ask anyone standing near me to repeat whatever it was the original person said. In one ear and out the other.
When Laura and I walked across the street to begin our picking, I ran towards the only tree that had tons of apples still attached to it. I filled about one third of the bag when I realized there was no ribbon. Once I thought about what I had done, I ran to another few trees with ribbons and covered up the illegal apples. Then, I hid the bag in the car and ran inside to pay. Finally, I booked ass outside to drive away as fast as possible. I don’t really think the lady who was running the register cared very much, but it was fun acting like I had done something horrible. Brings me back to the days of my youth.
I don’t even know what kind of apples I picked. I do know they are big and they taste good though, which is great. They have that wonderful “crunch” only a fresh from the tree apple can offer. Again, if we do decide to visit another orchard this year, I’ll be sure to take some more pictures.