There is nothing quite like a crunchy just-picked apple! I have some great memories of going apple picking with my parents and brother as a kid. I remember breathing in the crisp autumn air and rushing into the apple orchard to find the perfect apples. I remember how we’d bring bottles of water with us so we could rinse off the fresh, tasty apples we’d sneak. I remember how my brother and I would climb up on the lower branches in order to reach those lovely untouched apples in the upper branches. We’d go home with a couple of huge bushels of apples that we’d eat for weeks afterwards.
While spending the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend at Niagara-on-the-Lake for my husband’s friend’s wedding, I came across many fresh fruit markets and stopped by an apple orchard in an attempt to do some apple picking. Unfortunately, we were informed by a man working there that the orchard was nearly picked out and that they only had a sparse smattering of Mutsu apples left on the trees. He also told us that there might still be apples further north. Apparently, apple season ends earlier in the Niagara region since it is quite far south in Ontario. However, he seemed to think that there would still be apple picking available further north (closer to home for us). We did end up picking up a large bag of Mutsu apples from an apple stand on our way home from Niagara-on-the-Lake. I was intrigued by the Honeycrisp apples but didn’t want to pay the steep premium price that was quoted fro these premium apples. The guy who was running the stand was nice enough to throw in one Honeycrisp apple for me.
Even though I was disappointed that I did not have the chance to pick any apples in the Niagara region, I convinced my husband that we should do so after returning home. I thought it would be nice to include my parents and so we headed to Brampton early this past Sunday morning to pick apples at one of the orchards (Carl Laidlaw Orchards) we used to visit when I was a kid. It turned out to be a sunny and beautiful day for apple picking!
It’s interesting how many varieties of apples exist! There were about eight varieties available for us to pick on this lovely autumn day. Upon entry, we were able to taste the apples at a table set up with a number of apple bushels. After a short wagon ride, we discovered that while some varieties were already picked out, we noticed that there were some trees that were overflowing with apples. My parents have always been fond of Red Delicious apples and ended up picking a two huge bags of that variety in addition to some Empire, Golden Delicious, and Red Fuji apples. My husband and I went with a mix of Red Fuji, Red Delicious, a few Smoothies, and a few Empires from my parents. These are all varieties that are great to eat raw, which is my favourite way to consume apples (though I do enjoy apple pie, apple crisp, and most other apple-baked goods)!
Another bonus of heading out to an area where that are orchards and farms is that you can usually find places to buy honey that comes directly from a honey farm and farm fresh eggs. We managed to find both! There were also pumpkins available straight from a pumpkin patch and a variety of gourds where we purchased the honey.
After bringing home our load, I decided to do a little research about these apple varieties and I had a number of questions running through my head. How exactly did one apple differ from another? How are some of these apple varieties related? Why do some apple varieties (such as the Honeycrisp) demand a premium price?
What did I find out? I will be sharing that information in my next post so please stay tuned!
Where do you like to go to pick apples? What are your favourite types of apples?