Every year it’s the same old song and dance. Autumn rolls around and I find myself saying to one friend or another, “You know what would be fun? Apple picking! We should go apple picking!” Then I blink and it’s November, the trees have been picked bare and I’m out of luck. “Maybe next year,” I say. I’ve been saying that for oh, all six years I’ve lived in New York.
Well friends, that all changed this past Saturday in western Massachusetts. I finally went apple picking and it was just as fun at I remembered from all those years ago.
It took us a while to find a place that wasn’t closed due to the iffy weather reports or lack of apples. With scores of options in the area, we finally spoke to someone on the phone who said, yes they were open and yes they sold pumpkin butter (my favorite). The sky was over cast when Miranda, Elaine, and I arrived at Dickinson Farm. The chance of rain seemed imminent but it hadn’t started yet! It would take more than threatening skies to thwart our picking plans!
The little old lady, the only person in the huge barn house when we walked in, pulled out a big empty bag. “You take this out to the orchards, fill her up, it’s $25. Do you still want to do it?” We chuckled at her sales pitch. Sold! Yes! Yes we still want to do it! Hitch up the tractor and get us to the trees as fast as it’ll carry us!
I wasn’t kidding about the tractor. Driven by just who you’d expect, an old farmer type in a trucker hat. Stiff lipped, he did not welcome us aboard and actually started driving the tractor before I got on after snapping this picture. I jumped on the moving cart! The only thing that could have made this more perfect was if there’d been hay bales to sit on.
A short tractor ride later (we totally could’ve walked it but the tractor ride was much more fun), we stood in rows and rows of empire apples. Let the apple picking begin!
Did I mention we coordinated outfits? We couldn’t resist. Matching flannel shirts for apple picking on a fall day before the rain fall. Before the big family arrived with a bunch of little kids (one tiny little girl in particular), we were totally the cutest on the entire farm. (I’m assuming this farm had no hidden pen of teacup pigs in a hayloft.)
I’m that lady at the grocery store who touches all the apples in the bin before settling on the perfect ones. One Thanksgiving I spent a good 15 minutes picking out the best green beans at an organic market. I’m aware no one likes that lady, but I can’t help it! I’m picky about produce. Selecting right from the tree where nothing is bruised, nothings been smooshed in transit? It’s a dream.
Our bag fit a half bushel of apples. It’s more than you might think! When someone said I love you, a bushel and a peck that was actually a lot of love! We struggled a little hauling our half bushel, we wouldn’t have been able to carry a full one. And yes, we had a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck running through our heads the rest of the day (sorry if I infected your brain with it too!)
Strange rumbling noises interrupted our folk song. We wondered if it was some sort of farm machinery before realizing it was thunder. Then we looked towards the west and saw the horrible, dark, scary sky. A storm’s a’comin’!
We topped off our bushel and stood in the road, hoping our tractor ride would get there before the clouds burst. Farmer Bob arrived just in time to drive us to our awaiting dry car. Not a minute after we got of the trailer, big drops began to fall. It was perfect timing! And now the weather was perfect for a night inside, baking apple crisp and carving pumpkins.
Apple picking is so fun! There are lots of places much closer to NYC to go and you can probably find one for this weekend! Time Out New York and Mommy Poppins both have great lists of farms you can check out this weekend. Check them out here and here.
As for me I gotta thank western Mass and Dickinson Farm for so much fall fun!