The moment the leaves begin to turn and the air gets a little crisp, I start planning my annual apple orchard visit. I collect a car-full or two of friends, find a Saturday that works for all of us, and scout a nearby orchard. Now this selection of our destination for a few hours of apple picking, meandering, and eating is serious business, and I have a short list of criteria to find the perfect spot.
I love an orchard that grows heirloom apples like the Arkansas Black (which, hence the name, is almost black in color), Blue Permain or the Newton Pippin. These are usually rare, old, regional varieties whose seeds have all but been lost due to industrial agriculture. Though they can be finicky to grow or ship, they almost have the best flavor. Out of all heirloom varieties, though, I give special preference to the Northern Spy, which in my opinion is the best baking apple you can find. If an orchard doesn’t carry Northern Spies or other heirlooms, I’ll settle for the standard Mcintosh, Gala, or Braeburn, all of which will make a fine pie. And of course, I make sure that the orchard actually allows visitors to pick the apples, as wandering through the rows, climbing a tree for the highest (and surely the tastiest apple) and throwing cores at your friends is clearly half the fun.
Read on in Luri & Wilma