Picking a Peck of Apples
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” ~ George Eliot
Living in the Concrete Jungle doesn’t give way to many fall like opportunities unless you hit up the local farmers markets on Sundays or take a stroll through Central Park as the leafs flash their bling. Thankfully you only have to drive about an hour upstate to take in some fall festivities whether it is some corn mazes and pumpkins or some apple picking and farm fun.
That is what my cousins and I did on Saturday. Hoping in a car, driving along the river appreciating the views of brilliantly painted trees on the Palisades Parkway as we headed upstate into the Hudson Valley. My cousin had found a farm which allowed her two miniature Australian Shepherds to join in the apple picking fun so we headed to Gardiner, New York. I instantly felt like I was home in the rolling farmland. It was amazing how easily you can go from concrete to mountains in a matter of minutes. It is what keeps me sane when the hustle and bustle of the city starts to get to me. Of course it also allows me to get scratch my wanderlusting itch!
Wrights Farm was not only was it a sanity haven from the city, but it was a smorgasbord of fall fun. The farm stand which is more like a sprawling country store, is the first thing you see when you drive up. Not only did it have the staples of cider, donuts, and local produce, it also offered a mouth watering selection of home made jams, pickles (which I had to buy!) fudge, and other home made goods, but they also served a variety of food right there. Including tacos, mac and cheese, and fried chicken! From the moment you stepped out of the car, your nose was aroma happy.
Once we paid for our bags we drove up the hill to a sizable field where we parked. Then the real fun began. Sweeping rows of apple trees, some “Katie” size my cousin jokingly told me, to larger ones where my cousin climbed atop her hubbies shoulders to reach the taller apples, spanned as far as the eye could see.
They had the usual assortment of Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, Macintosh, and Cortlands. But then they offered some I had never heard of, like Northern Spy, Arkansas Black, and Stayman. It was entertaining as we not only tried out each kind of apple, (fuji are still my favorite), but tried to find the best ones to pick. Some how, my cousins kept giving me the teensy-tiny apples…I wonder why.
Joking, laughing, multiple photo-ops, including taking a picture of the pups “picking” apples led to us spending hours there. As we slowly made our way back to the car, laden with bags of apples, we met one of the owners, Mike.
I have written numerous times about how great customer service matters, and this was no exception. He didn’t have to stop and talk to us, or shower lots of attention on the two fur babies, nor did he have to apologize numerous times for what was in his opinion a lack of apples, especially because they were short on mine and my cousins favorites. After all, as much as a farmer probably wants too, you can’t control mother nature volatile personality.
We had already decided we would come back next year, but Mike cemented that decision. Not only was he incredibly cordial and pleasant to talk too, giving a history of the farm that had been in his family for some time, and telling us to check out a beautiful lookout located on the property. You could tell how passionate he was not just about the work he does, but also about his employees, and his customers. We must have talked to him for almost twenty minutes. While I am sure, he had things to do, he didn’t rush the conversation along, and generally wanted to make sure we were having a great time.
Not only were we, but he just made us customers for life!
Before we made the hour and a half trek back to the city, we had to check out the hill that Mike had told us about.
And were we jubilant we did. With the sun getting ready to set, it was an incredibly engaging view of the Hudson Valley with the trees in all their glory, it was the perfect way to end a magnificent day.
Have you gone apple picking this fall? What is your favorite type of apple?