When I was single and in MBA school, a company flew me out to interview with them in New Jersey in the month of October. My sister happened to be living about an hour from this company, so I arranged my flight home so that I could stay the weekend with her and her family.
The featured activity of the weekend was to visit an apple orchard in upstate New York. I’d never been apple picking, and I was quite excited! It sounded so charming and quaint! It proved to be a delightful experience, such a fun fall activity for a young family. We picked dozens of apples, enjoyed a picnic lunch, ate apples until we couldn’t eat them anymore, and then stopped at the barn for some fresh apple cider doughnuts before heading home.
I thought it was a wonderful fall tradition, and wanted to carry it on with my family! I wasn’t aware of any large apple orchards in Utah or Colorado, but as soon as we moved to Ohio, you can bet I was looking up nearby apple orchards! We found one about an hour from our house (A&M Farm Orchard), and drove out there with our 2-month-old Oliver (2013). It was really, really cold, so we bundled him up in the Baby Bjorn and zipped him up inside Nick’s jacket. We didn’t realize that we were at the very tail end of the season, so all of the apples and pumpkins we got were 1/2 price! It was epic. We took a ridiculous amount of apples and pumpkins home for…maybe $20? We enjoyed snacking on apples and making apple treats for weeks. Right before my maternity leave was over, I turned the rest into several jars of apple butter. Delicious.
Oh – we also discovered Holtman’s Donuts on the way home from that trip. Life-changing. I was craving donuts on the way home from the orchard (as I far too often do). No sooner had I voiced this craving to Nick that I saw a large sign reading “Donuts” on the side of the road. I yelled, “Donuts!” and pointed my finger at the sign. Nick exercised some serious evasive maneuvers and quickly turned into parking lot. I went inside this epicly tiny, quaint mom-and-pop donut shop. They were still cranking out doughnuts at 3 o’clock in the afternoon – so you know they must be good! I don’t remember anything we got besides the maple bacon raised doughnut, but I remember sitting there thinking, “These are quite possibly the best doughnuts I’ve ever had in my entire life.”. They’ve become an inseparable part of our annual apple picking excursion.
Our second year (2014), we took some friends with us. It was a gorgeous, sunny, warm day. The only disappointment was that the Granny Smith apples – my favorites for baking with – weren’t ripe yet! Blast! But we still had a great time, watching Oliver discover that he loved apples, and watching him nurse one apple the entire time we were there. One of the friends happens to be this amazing photographer (he also took our pregnancy announcement shots for us), so it’s our most-beautifully-captured apple picking excursion.
Year 3 update and photos – soon to come!