Last year in late Autumn I researched apple farms and picking schedules, only to find that I was a few weeks too late to gather fruit. With the website bookmarked and a hankering for fresh fruit THIS YEAR, I suggested we hit “Apple Country Orchards” in Idalou, Texas last weekend. That morning I called ahead to ask about their picking schedule, only to be dismayed and confused by the woman’s response, “Most of the apples are pretty picked over, but you’re welcome to come pick the last of them.”
” Okay,” I thought. “We’ll give it a whirl.”
Our adventure started with a road trip 2 hours south, to a little “town” (if you’d call it that) called Idalou. We passed farmland and grasslands, cows and cotton fields…
…until we ended up at the orchards.
I’m not going to lie. This is a working farm. It could use a face-lift, but that’s part of the…charm? The people were friendly, and it was VERY busy. They had a bustling screened-in patio filled with families eating pancakes and salad and who knows what else!? There were bins of apples on the back deck that you could bag up for yourself, and frozen cider in half gallon jugs for just under 7$. The shop was filled with typical “farm stand” products like pickled veggies, salsas, and sundry other items that wanted you to believe they were picked and canned from that very farm, but after reading the label carefully, you realized that they were not. It looked as if they had fresh-baked goods, although at 12 noon on a Saturday, there wasn’t much left.
We had exceptionally high temperatures in the 80’s last weekend, and it was a bit hot walking around the orchard looking for fruit. When we asked about how to go about picking, we were met with this response: “There really isn’t any fruit left. The two trees in front of the shop have some apples still-they’re hard to reach without a ladder, and most of the fruit is at the top. But go ahead and try.” Hmmm…….. Matt was determined to pick some apples one way or another!
We walked the orchards anyway, searching for hidden fruit. The waft of rotten apples in the heat of the day reminded us of kombucha or keifer.
Most of the apples were pretty small, but we were able to pick a variety. There were light green ones, Pink Ladies, a sweet red-ish variety as well as a lovely dark purple one. For 3$, it seemed like a steal. (That’s what we ended up with, below.) Apple Country Orchards may lack in some areas, but they claim to have 30 varieties and are pesticide-free. That counts for a lot in my book!
Fall and Winter always urge me to break out some Robert Frost, and I thought his “After Apple Picking” was appropriate for today’s post: