Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Ever since I was little, my parents would take me apple picking each fall. I was much shorter then, and the apple trees seemed all the more majestic with their ripe fruits hovering over me. I grew to love the smell of fermenting apples and leaves; it was so quintessentially autumn. We used to trod along the rows of trees, my dad working the long apple-picking claw contraption, my mom carrying the heavy bushel basket as it grew heavier and heavier, and me in tow, munching on a freshly picked apple.
To this day, I still love planning trips every fall out to the country to ride on haystacks out to the orchards. This past Saturday, I threw on a pair of old jeans, my running shoes, and my old college sweatshirt, escaped the madness of the Baltimore marathon downtown, and drove out to the Maryland-Pennsylvania state line with Mr. S. Shaw Orchards has been a family owned and run farm since the mid-1800's. There's a country market where preserves, honeys, pumpkin butters, cider, and fresh picked apples and squashes are sold. We went to pick our own. There's great personal satisfaction in being able to forage and gather my own food. It makes you understand where food comes from, and the processes needed to get it.
There's a $5 per person fee to pick apples. Once you bring back your booty to be weighed, they credit you the $5 back. All apples are 50 cents per pound.
Our basket filled up quickly as all the apples looked so incredibly juicy and delicious to me. We picked mostly Cameos, which were ripe that weekend, and we did stumble upon a small grove of Golden Delicious. Next week, Cameos, Galas and Pink Ladies will all be ripening, the last batch of the season. An hour later, the sun hot on our shoulders, we had filled up our basket full of heavy sweet fruit. No tools were needed; all the apples were only an arm's reach away, and in my case, a jump and a reach.
Mr.S drove us home through the scenic country roads, as I happily ate apples, and brainstormed all the different pies, crisps, and grunts I would make with my basket of goodies.
21901 Barrens Road South
Stewartstown, PA 17363