Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's apple season and were going pickin!

Yesterday Gavin had a follow up appointment for his ear at the ENT office. I took the opportunity to spend the afternoon and indulge in some fun. We had a totally calorie free (I can only wish) lunch at Wendy's then spent several hours with medical providers who still cannot come to a resolution on why suddenly he loss hearing in his right ear. He has to have an MRI simply to rule anything out. He suffered through blood work, additional testing, and some ear probes with out any complaints, and since we were already out that way, I thought we would take advantage of the beautiful afternoon and visit Beak and Skiff apple orchard in Lafayette, NY.

Beak and Skiff is one of those places that I had traditionally taken my kids to every fall for apple picking, and also one of those places that most city kids went at some point in their elementary years for a field trip, and perhaps the most well know apple orchard in the area. We had not been in several years, simply because we moved so far north, the kids have gotten older, we have gone to Critz Farm for the last several years, and apples became less of a priority I guess. But regardless to why the annual visit became a thing of the past, neither I nor Gavin had been in quite some time and the return visit became a great treat.

Things have changed since my last visit, (I just found a scrap book layout from 2005 to a trip to Beak and Skiff, could it really have been 8 years ago that we last visited?). They have redesigned the buildings, expanded on the business (the distillery), removed the goat barn, and added some features to the playground. Some things have changed but many have stayed the same; the wagon ride into the orchard, the apple cider mill, the bee hive, and the yummies in the country store continue to live.

First order of business was to catch a ride on the wagon up to the current prime apples to pick for this time of year; Gala's and Macintosh. When my older two were little, we would come out to the orchard just to take a ride on the wagon, play on the playground, and spend a few pennies on maple sugar candies. I really knew how to penny pinch in those days and we had to with my allowance of funds on my small paycheck.

We jumped on the wagon just as it was about to head into the fields, when I heard "Wendy" it was Kate, one of my CTMH girlfriends. I yelled "Hi" back and we were off! (Pictured below is Lexi and Gavin picking apples in 2005, Lexi was the same age then as Gavin is now.)

Typically B&S has a strict apple picking policy, you only pick what is ripe for the pickin. I have been to other orchards where they have allowed up to roam free to pick what ever you find. Both Gala (Gavin likes these) and Macintosh (my personal favorite) were open for picks and we rounded up several apples to take home, before the wagon made another round to pick people up.

We stopped at the playground, ate a few of our apple finds, and I caught a few pictures.

Years ago the playground was located closer to the road and not in the fields. (here are some 2005 pictures of the playground a wooden cut outs)

It was an easy walk from the orchard to the stores and wagon pick up, so we hopped on the wagon for another ride. This time just for fun.

The playground also hosts a pony ride. It was not running on this beautiful afternoon. Gavin did remember taking a ride on those ponies when he was little. I can imagine that the weekends are busy with the ponies, apple fritters and all sorts of additional fun activities, it was fine for us, there was still plenty of things to see and do. (Picture of Gavin with big sister Lexi helping in 2005 riding the ponies)

Returning from our wagon ride we finally paid for our apples, and headed towards some of the newer buildings.

 The 1911 house (apparently 1911 was when the orchard was initially established) is brand new to the orchard just opened this season, and is home to OMG! Hard ciders! Or is it wine? Whatever it is called, I had to taste some, and they had FREE tasting.

After the first sip of Sweet Apple, I was hooked. OMG! They have blueberry and raspberry! Of course I had to try those too!

After my tastes...they were all so good I couldn't decide and ended up buying three bottles!  So I stepped out of my "budget" I have done so well of weeks past, I figured just this once.
Deciding we had better get out of this building quick before I buy and try more. We headed to the apple tasting building (also new at least since I have been). Here you can try all of the different apples grown in the orchard. Gavin and I were both FULL of apples since our own personal tasting trip out in the orchard so we passed. I never realized how many different types there were.

Next was the country store. I could so rack up my charge card in this place. Cider, jams, cute little craft stuff, honey and speaking of honey, we always had to stop and say hello to the bees.

Hi Bees!
And all this great stuff to get. I did contemplate getting some apple butter, some maple syrup and CHEESE CURDS! (it sounds so disgusting, but they are so yummy) but I refrained.

Oh so yummy.

I love the store decor too. Just like a country kitchen.

We both obtained samples of FUDGE, I had peanut butter and Gavin had M&M.

Of course we had to get a little cider before we visited the cider press. I actually have never seen it in use, but it is still cool to look at.

No maple syrup candies in stock. The cashier said they sold out over the weekend. Bummer.
Gavin and I enjoyed the sun and sipped a little cider before we called it a well enjoyed afternoon at the Apple Orchard.

He even took a few pictures, here is his favorite.
The USA flag blowing in the wind. How beautiful.

As we headed back out we discussed the difference between cider and juice, and how they are made differently. I didn't have an answer, so we both considered how they might be made differently. My thoughts are that they squeeze the juice, and they concentrate the cider. I don't know I may have to google it.
We stopped at my mom's on the way home and Gavin asked if she could make him his Halloween costume again this year. She does great work.

After that we rented some movies and picked up a Domino's $7.99 large pizza. (I am SO tapped out of FUNDS). The evening was spent watching Now You See Me", eating pizza and drinking cider. (I have not touched my wine yet).

The movie was lots of fun, pizza was yummy, and I think I have had enough apples for one day with the cider. It was a WONDERFUL day. I so enjoyed my time with my son. Loved it!