Saturday, October 18, 2008

Apple Picking in Yorktown Heights, NY

Amber and I enjoyed our visit to Wilkens Fruit Farm in Yorktown Heights, New York (roughly 35 miles from our apartment in the bronx.  The Fall colors were out in full force along the Sprainbrook Parkway, which made the drive one of the true highlights of the day.

Amber and I took advantage of the Columbus Day and decided to enjoy our first ever apple picking adventure.
Amber, although slightly vertically challenged, was very determined to fill our basket with apples.
You can clearly see that she was very proud of each apple she was able to shake from the trees.
I was more interested in eating the apples than picking them.  I justified this as quality control and ensuring that the apples were up to standard.  Also, I really like apples!

By the end of our picking adenture, we were tired.  We had picked a half bushel of apples which is roughly 24 pounds of apples.  The basket was a mixture of Baldwin, Red Delicious, Ida Red and McIntosh Apples.  The Apple in the palm of my hand was the last one we picked and it was the most perfect of them all.  The Baldwin was a first for boh of us, but it is definately our new most favorite of the apple varieties.

As far as farms go, Wilkens is not the best one that I have been to.  The crops / orchads are not clearly marked and you are almost forced to eat the apples to determine what you are picking. The tractor ride is lame at best. It looked more like riding in the back of a pick up truck with 40 of your closest freinds.  There was no attempt to make this the traditional farm hayride exerience.  All-in-all, Amber and I enjoyed the trip to Wilkens Fruit Farm.  We stopped at the gift shop for some farm fresh honey, some fresh pressed apple cider and the highlight the fried to order apple cider doughnuts rolled in sugar.

The experience was also a little bitter sweet for me as it was a reminder of my grandfather who passed away just weeks before our wedding after a battle with Parkinson's Disease.  My Grandfather was a blacksmith by trade and a green thumb  by passion.  In the later stages of his career, he had his own business that he ran out of a shop in his back yard which was nearly an acre.  Just beyond his shop was his garden which was a highlight of our visits every summer.  Just beyond the garden at the back of the property was my grandfather's orchard.  He planted a fruit tree for each of his grandchildren.  The tree that he planted for me was an apple tree.  

about six or seven years ago my grandfather decided to build his own apple press which was entirely his design.  He rigged a mulching machine to spray apple chunks into his barrel shaped press where he converted the solid apples into liquid apple cider.

Grandpa, where ever you are, the cider at Wilkens, while very good, didn't hold a canlde to yours. 

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