I have fond memories of going to Beasley's pumpkin patch fields to pick out future as a child, but I had never been to their apple orchards. I was unreasonably excited to return to frolic in the fields of yore; one can imagine my disappointment when a Beasley's employee informed me over the phone that they did not host any you-pick apple orchards, only you-pick pumpkin patches.
The Johnny Appleseed cutouts that stand at the entrance and exit wooed me. The red barn market filled with fresh fruits and vegetables made me want to permanently switch to local food. Size options of peck or bushel provided fun words to ponder. (Now that I have Google on my side, I know a peck is about 10 lbs and a bushel is about 40 lbs.)
With a peck bag in hand, my family and I drove through the orchard hunting for the currently pickable apples:
- Mollies Delicious
- sweet; similar to eating Red Delicious; meant for eating
- sweet; all-purpose
- Golden Supreme
- sweet; similar to Golden Delicious; all-purpose
- tart; all-purpose; popular for pies
- tart; all-purpose; recommended for cooking; cooks soft
The hunt was pretty easy due to Anderson's convenient labels and clumping of varieties.
Soon we found a Gala row and hopped out to fill our peck bag. We were sorely disappointed with what we found: tree after tree with either rotting or newborn baby fist-sized apples. We walked the entire row hoping to find at least one blossoming tree but it was futile--the whole row was past its prime.
Luckily future rows were much more successful. It was a fun process; eyeing suitable apples turned into a sort of competition with us calling each other over to gauge the quality of our sweet discoveries and compare them with each other. We quickly filled our bag about 3/4 full with more apples than we could eat.
Now that I am outside of the orchard I realize this is a ridiculous amount of apples for a small family. To avoid letting them spoil, I gave some to my grandma and used about seven of them in a few loaves of apple bread using this tasty recipe. I plan to make homemade applesauce and apple crisp in the next couple days because there is no way we will finish them before they start to go bad.
So far the bread has been a big hit and hopefully the other recipes will be as well. With such fresh apples, I assume they will.