Apple-picking With the Apples of My Eye

I was at a birthday party this week and heard a little boy going on and on about apple-picking. He was probably about five, maybe six—an older sibling of one of Maisie’s cronies—and describing with great gusto every detail about how to pick an apple. I figured he must have gone the day before, but it turns out he’d gone two weeks earlier. For a kid to still be raving about something a full 14 days later, well—wow!

Apple-picking is one of the cool things about living in the Northeast in the Fall. I grew up in the desert of West Texas so, for me, even something as simple as crunching leaves is a total ball. Getting to watch my daughter enjoy the autumn as much as I do is a better high than slugging down a bottle of red wine.

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There are primarily three places in the county to pick apples—or at least three that popped up over and over on Google.

The first is Granite Springs’ Stuart’s Fruit Farm, the oldest working farm in Westchester County. The original farmhouse was built in 1760. The Stuart family took over the farm in 1828 and built the first farm stand in 1886. Neat, eh? They have a huge variety of apple trees so whether you want apples for eating or some for a special apple pie, they have the apple for you.

North Salem is home to Outhouse Orchards. It has apple picking, hayrides, and a pretty cool farm stand with donuts, pies, and homemade cider. There are few things better than warm apple cider on a cold night. Am I right?

We decided to give Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm in Yorktown Heights a whirl. This farm also has pumpkins in the Fall and Christmas trees later in the year. To say that Maisie had a ball would be an understatement. We started by climbing on the back of a trailer pulled by a tractor and heading down the short path that could have just as easily been walked. When we reached the grove, Maisie went nuts, running from tree to tree screaming, “Apple! Apple!” She kept trying to eat rotten ones off the ground until we showed her that she could actually pick one from the tree.

Eureka! Plucking yellow apples from the trees was like finding gold in California. She even tried to help my husband use the pole for the high-up ones. Hudson hung on his daddy in the Baby Bjorn doing his best to keep up at just 11-weeks-old.

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Next, we headed to the pumpkin field, a big plot of land with already-picked loose pumpkins spread everywhere. Maisie and all the other kids ran from pumpkin to pumpkin until they found just the right one. She struggled under the weight of it trying to carry it back to the tractor. She kept sticking out her tongue, wrestling the not-so-huge gourd saying, “Heavy!”

The only thing that calmed the screaming two-year-old who didn’t want to leave the pumpkin patch was the promise of snacks. The farm has not one, but three shops! We started out by waiting in line for the apple-cider donuts, but after 20 minutes of not moving an inch in the 100 people-deep line, we gave up and opted to bring home an apple crumb pie. This is not something a woman trying to lose 20 pounds of baby weight needs to do—but YUMMY! I guess I’ll just have to take the tots on a bunch of leaf-crunching expeditions.

 

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