Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Good Pickin'

For the last few years I have been wanting to take the kids apple picking. It seems like there was always something that prohibited it. Last year we were getting ready for the kids’ Godmother’s wedding. I’m sure those apostrophes are all wrong. I apologize to the grammar police out there. The year before that Colette was an infant. This year I found only one weekend day from September thru November where nothing was planned, therefore I had no excuses.

With super hero movies in the DVD player, we headed about 2 hours southeast to Julian, which by Southern California standards, is apple country.

After careful research (we Yelped it- duh), we decided on two orchards to visit.

The first was Raven Hill Orchards. The orchard is run by Irish brothers, complete with heavy accents, and they have 7 varieties of dwarf apple trees- perfect for the kids to reach. The end of the rows are marked with the varietals, but the owner told us the best thing to do was eat the fruit off the trees to decide what we wanted.

Vincent reminded me that his favorite apples are Fujis, so we started our search.

We often forgot to look at the end markers, so we took the owners advice and ate as we went.

And ate.
And ate. About 45 minutes into our picking, Vinny bit into an apple and declared it a Fuji. I gave Patrick a skeptical glance, but when we got to the row marker, sure enough, it was a Fuji! The kid knows his apples!

Franklin had fun running up and down the rows.

We picked Empires and Pippins, McIntoshs and Fujis. I think each child consumed five apples in the hour we spent roaming around. Patrick and I ate a few too. It would have been rude not to.

Our second stop was O’Dell’s Organic Orchard where we got to pick pears. Tasting was not encouraged, but the kids did it anyways. I have to admit that after the apple tasting it was hard to tell the kids not to sample the fruit. So I joined in. We decided the uglier the fruit the better it tasted. We then sought out the lumpiest, most multicolored pears we could find. We picked Bartletts, Anjous, and Boscs. The orchard also has chickens and horses, and farm equipment.

We went for BBQ for lunch. It was good, but living in the South for a few years has ruined all hopes I have of finding decent BBQ in CA. A big shout out to Gary’s in China Grove, NC and to Kelly and Scotty for introducing us to it. We miss you guys.

On the way out of town we stopped at the Julian Pie Company to pick up a whole dutch apple to go. At this point in the day I had 14 pounds of apples in the car, and could have baked my own pie, but I was tired like to support the local economy. It was the right thing to do.

When we got home I told the kids we were having pie and ice cream for dinner. They didn’t believe me until it showed up on their dinner plate. It was declared the best dinner ever. Fitting for the best family day ever.

Now what am I going to do with 20 lbs of fresh apples and pears?



  1. mmm...I want us to go apple picking...but our month is so busy!?!? i hope to find a great place or 2 and JUST GO! :)