Last week, Laura and I decided that if we were going to pick apples this month, we better get on the road. We have a terrible habit of waiting too long for these things and by the time the season almost passes, we go picking during a rain storm. It’s like a race against time because of our laziness. This year though, besides the oppressive heat wave that hit towards the end of September, we experienced almost perfect weather.
I’ve never been to North Star before, but like I said, it’s a great place. There’s tons of good parking and enough space to pretty much avoid everyone. Even though the orchard does offer a tractor to pull folks up the almost quarter mile dirt road to the active picking trees, we decided to walk. If I can recall, I wasn’t in the mood to be pulled around. It’s a nice feature for someone, perhaps, who has a broken leg or an injured organ or something, but for two able bodied adults, walking it was. Nature at its finest.
How were the apples? Well, they were and are still delicious. We picked a half bushel and paid $18 for it. If my calculations are correct, that’s less than $1 per pound. Not bad for some really juicy McIntosh and Cortland.
I took a bunch of pictures, so I’ll post them below. I hope you enjoy.
Apples from North Star Orchards
This is the second time this year that Laura and I stopped by North Star Orchards to pick some apples. Our first visit was just a few weeks ago in September during a cool spell. We ran up there early in the picking season and grabbed ourselves a half bushel of McIntosh. That was the only type of apple ready to be picked at the time, which didn’t bother me because the McIntosh happens to be my favorite.
Today was different. It was a cooler 42 degrees and we had a wider variety to choose from. But while we had more diversity, there were fewer apples overall, which is to expected this late in the season. Either most of them were already gathered by others or they naturally fell from the trees. It’s been kind of windy, but I’m going with my first guess – they were already snatched up by other folks. Good thing I’m tall and can reach up nice and high to pluck the tricky ones.
I think we’ve decided that apple picking during the last few remaining days of the season fits us well. We were almost the only ones in the orchard. To have a place like North Star all to ourselves is the best one can do, apple picking-wise.
We took over a hundred photos between the two of us. My goal was to steer clear from taking pictures of apples, which is a challenge in itself, being in an orchard (the first two photos are of apples). But since there was a lot going on otherwise, I didn’t have too much trouble. And I didn’t want to take the same photos as I did last year either, which was another challenge because there are certain spots just simply beg to be captured.
I’ll post my photos below. I haven’t gone through Laura’s yet, but when I do, I’ll post them here as well. You most likely won’t know the difference.
I think this is a Macoun apple. I picked it, rubbed it so it was nice and shiny and then got an idea. I thought by holding the apple in my hand would make for a clever picture. Let me tell you, holding something so close to a camera that won’t auto-focus properly is not that simple. Add the fact that my hand was shaking, I’m lucky this one came out at all.
These are Golden Delicious apples still on the tree. We had plenty to choose from when it came to this variety, so we filled half our bag with them. I would say this is my second favorite apple. I grew up eating these guys because my neighbor across the street had a big tree that was full of them every year.
I saw these apple pickers leaning against a fence and thought of my artistic side. I went over and snapped a few shots and got somewhat annoyed because the lens I was using didn’t offer much depth of field. It’s a little stock lens that came with Laura’s camera. While it takes fine photos, when you want to get creative, it falls somewhat short. Still, it was fun to take some photos of the colorful apple pickers.
This is my favorite picture of the entire collection. I think the colors are great and the plant tells us the end of the season is near. You’ll get a glimpse of part of the valley behind this plant in the next photo.
If you walk or drive up to the trees toward the rear of the orchard and have a camera in your hand, it’s nearly impossible to pass by this view without stopping. I don’t care how many times you’ve seen it. What you’re looking at is the Carrabassett Valley in Maine, which is right below Sugarloaf Mountain and the Bigelow Preserve. If you remember my post from last weekend, you’ll remember these same mountains, but from a closer proximity and different angle. It really is a beautiful area. By the way, Sugarloaf is now covered with snow.
While I was picking some McIntosh apples, I stumble across a birds nest in one of the trees. Of course, I left it alone, but I did take a few pictures of it.
Since it was during the week and no one was around, we were able to take our car through the orchard. I enjoyed this very much because any time I’m able to drive off road, I like it. And since I drove on the dirt, I wanted to capture the memory of the road. This picture was taken on our trip back down the hill.
I saw these cool ladders last time we stopped by the orchard, but Laura took all the photos that day. I forgot all about them. Today though, since I had a camera in hand, I decided it was my time to do the snapping.
And lastly, here is a picture of the orchard store and warehouse itself. Visitors can get a nice view of this as they walk or ride down the hill from the rear of the orchard.
Actually, that was the last of my photos. In this next section, I’d like to present Laura’s photos. I know I told you earlier that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between all of them, but the way it ended up, I edited them separately. I suppose that’s good because you’ll get a better idea of our stylistic differences.
While I was inside the store picking up some cider, Laura was outside picking out a pumpkin. We have a grand plan of cooking one of these this season. I don’t know what she’s going to make, but I’m hoping it’s good. I’ve never eaten pumpkin before.
I didn’t even know there were squash (or gords) outside with her. She’s quite creative at times.
They do a pretty nice job over there at North Star. The entrance to the store is colorful and full of the season. There’s a lot to photograph, especially these orange mums.
I’m not quite sure what to call this. Is it a pallet or a box? I’m sure they’ve got a name for it in the apple world. Either way, the gentleman who was backing up the trailer loaded with these boxes was gracious enough to stop when I asked if Laura could take a few shots of them.
If they’d let me, I’d go up and search through the apples on the ground to help clean up, if they’d give them to me. There are many good ones and I’d be happy to take them. Eh hem.
I think it looks pretty cool with all these apples fallen under the trees. There are none in the rows, but under the trees, it’s like a carpet.
What did I tell you? No one can pass by this spot and not take a picture.