I spent the better part of last Friday at Indian Ladder Farms again, this time picking apples and wandering around looking at all the lovely produce. Most of the pick your own trees were short enough to reach the apples, although a few at the top were tantalizingly out of reach. They do have ladders for the trees on the other side of the farm, but I believe only farm employees are allowed to use those.
Unlike the hoards of kids with their mothers and chaperones (was school out or something?) I filled my half bushel bag all the way to the top with crisp, slightly sweet Macintosh apples – the more green the more tart, the man said. Once my bag was full I lugged it to the car, where it scented the air with lusciousness for days even after the apples went inside my house.
I didn’t like apples until we moved here. Up until now, the only apples I had eaten were shipped in from halfway across the globe. Mushy, blah, boring apples. Ick. I did NOT like those apples. These are beyond comparison to those mushy imitations. They’re sweet with a lovely crunchiness. It doesn’t matter which variety you get, they’re all tasty. The best comparison I can make is home-grown tomatoes compared to the mealy winter variety from the grocery store – it’s just not the same.
I finally broke down and bought a small jug of their apple cider while I was there. Anything apple juice related usually gives me headaches, but this stuff doesn’t. They make it on the farm and UV pasteurize it. I ventured down the stairs just past the live bees to the basement and got a good look at the process through the glass window for viewing, dodging kids at every step.
I need to invest in an apple peeler – I’ve figured out a tasty way to make baked apples and freeze them, but the skins do not freeze well. Baked apple skins don’t taste too good anyway, even if they’re better for you. If I’m making applesauce in the crock pot I blend the chopped, cooked skin pieces into a slurry that goes back into the sauce, making it deep brown instead of the anemic tan of the grocery store variety. Applesauce pancakes during the winter with local maple syrup – yum!