29 October, 2013

An Apple a Day

I've been having a love affair -- with apples.
I know that they have their season every autumn, and most times, I get in a trip to an orchard or two for picking, and I enjoy eating them and baking with them. This autumn, though, I've been *really* into them.

B & I kicked off the season at an orchard up near his where his family lives. We'd been there once last year, but not to pick. This time, however, we took a spur-of-the-moment picking trip with his mom. Here's B and his mom at Bob White Orchard:

The apples we got that day were okay -- but it had rained the days before and it was tough to find ones that weren't split. So we just picked a few.

Then we discovered *the* orchard -- my new favourite orchard, not far from our house. We'd been there last year, but at the very end of the season, and pick-your-own had already ended. I'd loved the small-ness of the place, though, and our impression of it was that it was really chill and no-frills -- totally the opposite of some of those big-operation places near us.
So we returned a few weeks ago and were delighted to find that our impression was true.

This place, Barnard's Orchard, is amazing! There's no signing in, there's no getting on a tractor, no posted rules of what you can and can't do -- you just walk up, grab a bag from outside the shop, and walk into the orchard, looking for the hand-written signs indicating which rows house which kinds of apple trees. And the rows go on and on forever! And there are barely any other people there! And they even have ladders - and they don't seem to discourage pickers from using them! It is soooo pretty there, and the apples are delicious!
So, we went the first day and picked a peck. And then, maybe a week later, I went back on my own and picked two pecks. And then, despite having an entire crisper drawer full of apples, I told B that going back to the orchard was what I wanted to do for my decompress-day after the Martha event in NYC. And we picked two more pecks. That's a lot of apples!

I'm not one to usually just eat an apple, but since that first trip to Barnards, I've been eating almost an apple a day. Besides just plain apple slices (I almost never just bite into an apple.) we've been really digging them smeared with peanut butters made by fellow American Made vendors Yumbutter. Also delicious was a dinner of cheddar and apple (and pickle!) grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Aand I made apple crisp (twice), and apple cinnamon oatmeal, and an apple pie. That apple peeler/core-er/slicer is one handy kitchen gadget!

The apples have also made for brilliant props for chez-sucre-chez photos. If you've seen my instagram feed or updates from facebook or twitter, you've seen the apples!

Here they are with the bowl covers:

And with the monogram tea towels:

(I'm running a special on tea towels before the holiday rush season begins: 4 for $64 - which is $2 off each!)

I stitched up, photographed, and listed some napkins today and the left-over apple pie from this weekend made it into some shots:

We've still got a crisper-drawer full of apples -- any suggestions on what else I should make? Do you have any knock-out apple recipes? Please share them in the comments if you do!

Next up - pumpkins?

PS - If you're also a fan of apples, cooking with apples, and picking apples, and especially if you live in the Boston/New England area, I suggest you check out my friend Liz's blog, Applelogs. She's the most crazy-about-apples person I know and she's posted some great recipes and reviews of orchards. Hi Liz!

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