Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Perfect Apple

Right off the tree...
...and into my bag
The perfect apple is the one you pick yourself. Right off the tree. It yields an audible crunch and a rush of juice down your lips.

My friends and I ate so many perfect apples on our annual apple picking excursion in the Hudson Valley this past weekend. We'd each pluck one, take a bite, note its flavor, and pass it around as if we were analyzing a fine wine. Does it make the cut home or not?
At Wright's Farm in Ulster County (about 80 miles from Manhattan), a $10 per adult entrance fee gets you a bag (a peck) you can fill to the brim with fruit.

A large selection this time of year includes my favorite - Fuji, a late season variety - as well as Golden Delicious, Mutsu, Stayman, Rome, and Braeburn. We even strategized over how to pack our bags to get the most yield of apples.

Sample all you want while in the orchard. When you've had your fill, a tractor ride takes you back to the parking lot, where you're asked to pop the trunk of your car in case you've attempted to smuggle out any extra apples.
Dig in to some squash
Once back at the main entrance, an abundant farmers market, save some room for lunch. Grab a picnic bench and load up on freshly barbecued chicken legs, chili or mac 'n' cheese. And definitely don't leave without a half dozen cider doughnuts made before your eyes. If you're lucky, you'll get a warm batch.They are gooooood. Real good.

An abundance of pumpkins and other colorful squash, delicious freshly baked pies, jams and jellies also tempt. Take advantage of the squash samples before you buy. There really is a marked difference in flavor from the nutty butternut to the Tan Cheese and small Sweet Dumpling squash.

What in the world will you do with all those apples? Wright's Farm even offers some tempting recipes. I'll be making lots of apple crumble. Stay tuned for that ridiculously simple recipe.
Then take some home

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