Monday, October 14, 2013

A is for Apples & Autumn

Over the weekend, my parents and I headed upstate (all of New York is upstate compared to Long Island) to visit my younger sister at college. I slept through most of the drive there, but my parents said the autumn foliage was great, although slightly past peak. While we were there we got to partake in one of my favorite fall activities, apple picking.

We went to Apple Hills, which is about 20 minutes away from my sister's apartment. When we drove up to the orchard area, it had a fantastic view:

There was a guy at the front of the orchard, explaining all the different types of apples they grew and which ones were best for baking or just eating. He was very helpful in directing us towards the apples we wanted, although everything was marked very clearly. He also encouraged us to eat apples while we were picking, in order to see which ones we liked best. We picked up some Crispins (my favorite), Red Delicious, and Jona Gold for eating, and my sister got some Cortlands for baking. Apple Hills also had a lovely little shop full of jams, apple goods and a small bakery. It seemed like there was also a spot for eating lunch out on their porch. Plus, there were some farm animals and Halloween themed activities for kids. All in all, we had a great time.

My all-time favorite orchard for apple picking is Becker Farms in Gasport, New York (near Buffalo). They also have a vineyard where they offer tastings of some of their delicious fruit wines. The Spiced Apple and Becker Blue wines are my favorite. I'm hoping to visit them again when I'm in Buffalo next month. They also sell jams, fudge, baked goods and apple cider (if I remember correctly). One of my favorite ways to drink apple cider is heating it up and throwing in a shot of cinnamon schnapps (I think cinnamon whiskey would work well too). I've already more than a few glasses so far this autumn. In college I would go through a gallon of apple cider a week, I was so in love with the stuff.

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