Family Fun: Applejacks Orchard Pick-Your-Own
Apples are the perfect fruit in my opinion. I don't have to peel one. It easily slips into a lunchbox. It can survive being dug out of the bottom of our backpacks after one of our Adirondack hikes. My children have always been able eat one without any assistance. I bake it, cook it, boil it and eat it raw. It can be tart and sweet. Apples are even members of the rose family. How perfect.
U-Pick Orchards are a great opportunity to carve out a bit of time, enjoy nature and reap the benefits of a fall harvest. The first time I ever went apple picking my daughter's contribution was a small bite out of each one before placing it back into the bag.
She would pick and eat anything without balking about a small bruise or misshapen form. Now my children slowly turn each apple before eating it, as if they are professional inspectors. The slightest brown spot will delegate that apple for pie or sauce.
This time my children know that they are responsible for picking only the apples they are willing to eat. At Applejacks Orchard in Peru we are shown a list of varieties that are ripe and ready for picking.
The only reference I know to applejack is as a colonial hardcider that upon further research is still made today. No we didn't partake in the Jersey Lightning but did have a sampling of a different sort.
We are handed a paper checklist. It is reminiscent of a wine tasting. We test the Macoun and Fuji. Both are sweet, crisp and ready to be picked.
My children grab an apple as they run through the appleshack on their way to see the goats then take a quick turn reminiscent of a slide into home plate as they glimpse the hay maze behind them. There is also an observational bee hive which gives the opportunity to learn the importance of bees pollinating an apple crop. Hayrides are available on weekends.
We are given a red wagon, basket and directed to a color-coded row. We are asked that when we eat an apple (not if) to make sure to throw the core near the trunk. The rows of trees are lush with colors.
Green, red and yellow apples hang heavy on the branches. It takes a matter of moments to fill the ½ bushel. My son lobs an apple into the basket and is promptly told by his sister that it's bruised; it's his. He carefully places the rest of his picks into the bushel.
Applejacks Orchard and Country Gift Shop is located at 751 Brand Hollow Road in Peru, 518-643-2268. To get there take I-87 to Exit 36 and follow Route 22 south for about 4 miles. Turn right onto Brand Hollow Road and look for the sign. There is plenty of parking.
all photos and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time. Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time guidebook series and co-owner of the the young adult wilderness adventure program, Adirondack Outdoor Expeditions.