Monday, October 22, 2012

Autumn and apple orchards

Autumn has arrived in South Carolina! Beautiful fall colors, cooler temperatures and all sorts of activities to keep us busy, but I can’t help compare this year to last... Not better or worse, only much different.


Halloween is not really celebrated in France (possibly only by American expats!) and therefore all the accompaniments (store decorations, costume parties, pumpkin patches, mass volumes of trick-or-treating candy for sale) we missed last year seem almost like overkill this year. We’ve got the boys’ costumes almost sorted out, which was much harder than I thought it would be. Lauris is old enough to have an opinion about what he wants to be (let’s just say there is NO way he would put on the Spiderman costume he wore last year, this time around!), and Mikus is a little older than his brother was for his first Halloween so the 3-6 month pumpkin costume isn’t an option (even if a nine month old wearing 12-18mo clothes wasn't the case). But Halloween isn’t the only difference reminding me I’m not in France any longer.

Pick-your-own is a very popular activity here in the US. We have family outings to pick blueberries, strawberries, peaches, pumpkins, Christmas trees and this time of year, apples. In central France the closest thing to an outing to the apple orchards is a cider féte, and these celebrations aren’t as child friendly as a day spent in the country picking apples, choosing a pumpkin and jumping on a hay ride. Yesterday we headed to Sky Top Orchard in North Carolina to pick our apples.

Of the 22 apple varieties the orchard grows, four were still available for picking and we returned home with a half bushel of each: Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Arkansas Black. I plan to make quick work of the Golden Delicious and churn out some applesauce next week, and the Arkansas blacks will make some excellent pies. I expect we will have had our fill of apples, apple pies, apple sauce, apple pancakes, etc. before we run out. Any must-try recipes I should try with these varieties?

We had a wonderful time in the mountains, picking apples (or watching mom pick apples), running up and down the rows (or watching dad run up and down the rows) and enjoying the colorful scenery on our way. Now, off to find a snack… There’s a Pink Lady calling my name!



  1. We don't have any pick your own anything around us - it looks like fun! Thanks for the reminder on's not that big in Australia, but is becoming more popular. Last year I was caught out and had nothing to offer the children that knocked on our door. They didn't seem to like my lame offering of an uninflated balloon!

  2. How fun. This is what I miss the most in South Carolina.

  3. We lived in Winchester, VA when the kids were growing up and loved picking apples. (But I've never heard of Arkansas blacks. They must be a regional apple.) I canned apple pie filling. I no longer have the recipe but maybe you could find one online. Enjoy all those apples.

  4. 4 half-bushels must be well over 50 pounds!
    I love the 'apple nutrition information' sticker on this site, about the Arkansas Blacks...


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