Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall in New England

This past Saturday we might have had the perfect fall day. The sun was out, the air was just cool enough. and as we drove out to Western Massachusetts, beautiful patches of foliage dotted the highway. So what else makes up the perfect fall day? 

1) Apple Picking 
Apple picking is my very favorite fall tradition. Each year we try to visit a new orchard. Last year we loved Gould Hill Farm in New Hampshire. Northborough's Tougas Farm is great. And this year, we visited Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, MA
It's a beautiful rambling orchard with rolling hills, old stone walls, and a general store selling everything from fresh cider donuts to fudge and fresh apple cider vinegar to marbles.
You can find standard apple varieties like Macoun, Macintosh, and Cortland, but they also have some cool heirloom varieties like Ginger Gold and Rhode Island Greening. AND this is the first orchard we've been to that has pears! We picked some Bosc and D'Anjou along with our apples.
Red Apple Farm also grafts different apple varieties onto one tree. In the top right image above, you can see two different varieties growing on the same tree! They even have one tree where they have grafted on over 100 varieties!
2) Apple Cider Donuts
After a hard morning's work picking a half bushel of apples, we rewarded ourselves with fresh apple cider donuts. No apple picking adventure is complete without one (or two) of these!
3) Lunch Outside
This is a fall essential, because you have to make the most of every last minute that isn't frigid! We stopped for lunch at Mill No 3 Farmstand. In the back of the store, there's a deli counter where they serve sandwiches, paninis, and soups. I got a delicious turkey, brie, and cranberry sauce panini, and we grabbed a picnic table outside. The last time we ate here, we sat in the greenhouse and had no idea this outdoor spot existed. You can't see it from the road or from the parking lot, so if you're there on a nice day, don't miss out! Down a little hill, the picnic tables are overlooking a picturesque little creek. It's beautiful and relaxing, a great place to enjoy your sandwich.
4) Pumpkin Beer and Octoberfest Beer
Next, we needed to fill up our growlers at Wachusett Brewery. The brewery is literally a couple minutes down the road from Mill No 3, so we sampled a few beers and brought home some of their Imperial Pumpkin and their Octoberfest, both delicious fall specialties.
5) Homemade Apple Pie
Finally, I made an apple pie! Nothing beats the smell of buttery crust and cinnamon and sugar-dusted apples baking in the oven (other than eating the pie). I used the Double Crust Apple Pie recipe from The Apple Lover's Cookbook, and boy was it good!
I hope everyone is having a wonderful fall!

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