By Kiran Ansari
“Why can’t we just buy apples from Meijer?” asked my teenager when I suggested we go apple picking last weekend. “It’s 2016 mom, we don’t need to pick fruit. We can order anything online and have it delivered to our doorstep.”
That is exactly why we needed to take our brood apple picking – to disconnect them from the online world that, in our household, is dominated by another kind of Apple. The shiny, sleek kind.
An afternoon with some old-fashioned apples
Every year, All Seasons Orchard in Woodstock, Illinois has a great variety of apples and some pears to pick throughout September and October. We were lucky to go on a beautiful, dry, 70-degree afternoon. The first few rows of apple trees that we saw after we got off a fun wagon ride made me sad as most of the apples were on the ground, many still in good shape. It seemed like a storm had blown them off the trees. Even though many didn’t look rotten or bruised, everyone just walked past them. It made me think of how we often shrug past someone or something that doesn’t look perfect to us.
Just a few rows down, we saw what we had come for – robust red and shiny yellow apples calling our name. Bunches and bunches just waiting to go home to be transformed into delicious treats. We picked some Jonagold and Fuji apples, but our absolute favorite were the Honeycrisp. Crunchy and juicy at the same time, they were very refreshing even several days later.
It was amusing to see how people were sneaking into the rows of trees that had been taped off as those apples were not ready for picking (or they were being saved for those visiting in the following weeks.) Regardless of the actual reason, it was the forbidden fruit story begging to be told.
My children enjoyed bending and stretching to pick the perfect apples and comparing different hues and textures. Even my two-year-old had a great time. She still says “wagon, apple, pick.”
With our bags filled to the top, we headed back in the wagon towards the pumpkin patch which served as the perfect photo backdrop for my little pumpkin. We rounded off the afternoon with warm, fresh apple cider donuts and thought of ways to use our loot from the day. You can check out Yvonne’s apple pie recipe or be a little adventurous and try the acorn squash and apple soup! My 11-year-old daughter has been adding apples to all her juices and smoothies, I shared some with our neighbors and the others are still perched on the kitchen island reminding us of a beautiful afternoon spent with the apples of our eyes.
Kiran Ansari is a writer and entrepreneur who runs her personalized aavors and gifts business, Up A Notch, and lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and three children, 14, 11 and 2.