A trip to Ulster County, NY, at this time of year must include apples. And, for me, it was my first ever apple picking adventure. Where we live we would have to travel at least 30 minutes to pick apples, but these apples were basically right out of our front door.
We hopped on Ed’s cousin, John I’s, all terrain vehicle (think souped up golf cart with a small flatbed that fit four adults and one child who is almost as tall as me) and headed down the street to the orchards. First stop, Golden Delicious trees. I held the bag while “Little Nicole” (John and Karol I’s 8 year old daughter) easily filled it up (nobody had picked from this tree). Back in the vehicle and off to the Empire trees. Theses trees had been picked over, so Little Nicole had an excuse to climb the trees to get to the ones that were a bit more out of reach. Once again, I held the bag. More off-roading to get to the largest of the apple varieties (and last stop) – these were specifically grown for baking. While they may not have tasted as good right off the tree, they were beautiful to look at.
Golden Delicious apples
Karol I. had intended to bake a pie that night for dessert, but Ed and I caused her to change her plans as we arrived with an apple pie with a caramelized walnut crust from Essex Provisions in Essex, NY (on Lake Champlain). While the apples didn’t come from down the street, the pie was amazing – we all agreed that it was a wonderful substitute! And, if you are ever in Essex, do stop by Provisions, not just for pies, but incredible sandwiches (speaking of fall, they have a great turkey, cheddar and cranberry sauce sandwich to put you in the mood for Thanksgiving) and other goodies (including good cheese).
Ed and I headed home with some fresh apples – first use was in a mixed green salad with grated Pecorino-Romano cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. Plus, we happily shared some with friends (and I got an amazing home grown fresh fig in return from Julie P)!