Sunday, September 28, 2008

Apple picking

It seems that apple picking is the thing to do in Ottawa in fall. And so, today was our day.

I grew up in the Niagara Region, the fruit belt of Ontario. Apples were abundant to say the least and pick-your-own was also a mainstay but, funny enough, not with the apples. I picked apples for pay but I never did it "for fun." If you wanted apples, you went to the farm and bought them. I assume this is because picking apples is a bit of a skill if you don't want to ruin the chances for a decent crop the following year.

But, in Ottawa it is the thing to do and every apple farm offers it. So, off we went to Mountain Orchards about 40 minutes south of Ottawa. I chose it because I heard good things about it and also they have my two favourite apple types: Empire and Honey Gold.


Mountain Orchards is a great place to pick; it is just what I look for in pick-your-own: the farm experience with a few fun things thrown in but not too much. I don't like it when working farms try to become dog and pony shows. Mountain Orchards does it just right, I think. They offer some pies and hot cider and coffee and also they make some cider donuts right there that you can get hot (totally delicious by the by). The only "entertainment" they offer is swings and tether ball. You have to know that John and I played tether ball. My shoulder protested but I didn't care. It was so much fun. I spent a ridiculous amount of time in public school playing tether ball.


Anywho.

We rode a big tractor-pulled wagon down to the orchard. We went by their corn field and some fallow fields and then, to Emily's excitement, a whole bunch of bee hives that were set up next to a tree line close to the orchard. We disembarked, got instructions on picking and where to pick and headed to the Honey Gold row. The apples were badly pock-marked from hail. The Honey Gold got the worst of it but the farmer promised that it doesn't affect taste or quality.

We had Honey Gold last year from a different farmer at the Carp Farmer's Market and they were by far our favourite apples of last year. We picked a big bag today. After that we moved onto Empire, my second favourite. They were beautiful and soooo delicious - we ate one or two at the end of picking. They are super crisp, slightly tart and juicy. Mmmmmm.


Picking apples with kids is great. It is easy for them to do and it is over quickly. After running through the trees for a few minutes we headed back for tether ball and the drive home.


For my dessert after lunch I bit into one of those Honey Gold and you know what? They suck! Not very crispy, absolutely no flavour and totally not what we had last year. Maybe I made a mistake? Now I'm thinking it isn't exactly the same name: maybe it was Honey Crisp last year. Anyway, I'm badly disappointed and have 15 pounds of Honey Gold I have to do something with.
At least I've got my 15 pounds of Empire.

Ideas anyone for flavourless apples?

7 comments:

Jen said...

Yum! We too went apple picking last week (of course, with someone like Jason, it is a must!) Now I'm at a loss what to do with the 22 pounds we plucked in under 15 minutes.

little b said...

Honeycrisps are SOOO good. We got some when we went picking outside of Boston. Delicious. I have no suggestions about what to do with the tasteless ones. I guess you should have eaten one while picking. Too bad. I think I ate about 8 while we were picking. I tried every variety. Yum.

H Munro said...

Yep it is the HoneyCrips, love those too!
Maybe you could make some apple crisp or apple sauce but put in some good apples to break it up a bit. I also make this baked chicken thing with apples and maple syrup dressing...the apples suck up the flavours of the other things...but that wouldn't use up 15 pounds!

Julie said...

Well, I guess you've done your apple picking for the year! I will take a mental note and not go for the Honey Gold

Pam said...

I'm so jealous! We went apple picking the last couple of years at Mountain Orchards and are missing this annual family event this year (no apple orchards in our neck of the woods). I miss the donuts the most I think. Sorry to hear you picked a bum batch of apples. We tend to like the Lobo's and Spartan from Mountain Orchards. Hey, here is a craft project for you (and everyone on the block), shrivel those apples and make apple head dolls (hee, hee!)

Norma-ann at The Mommy Project said...

Apple picking is one of our girls' favourite fall activities. I hope we make it out this year before it gets too cold (but...I think we are already too late!).

Your girls are *so cute*!!

julie said...

this is Julie Eeeeeee.

of course they don't taste like anything....they are not niagara apples...hi hi hi...

glad to hear of the effort you are making to instill great nature values in your two little growing cuties...

nice to read a bit of beth too in your comments..hi beth...it has been years...maybe we are even getting old enough to say decades.. ah!

i always think of both of you when i drive down haist past your old house...and i see uncle dave keeping active biking and walking almost daily....both uncle dave and aunt sharon gave me a quick update at the post office last week here in ridgeville...i hear kate is or was quite a little chunk...put on all of those reserves to use up at walking i guess...seems to be the way quite often....noting cuter than a pudgy baby...

take care reyburn girls!!

if ever you are in the region, let me know! I am still at the farm...