Friday, September 28, 2012

harvest

Every September for as long as I can remember we make at least one trip to the apple orchard up the road to pick our own.  We pull the old Little Tykes wagon through the rows of trees and I always bring my camera to record the annual event.


It's become a tricky business keeping up that tradition when karate, Boy Scouts, cross country, flag football, Awana and homework fill our schedule to overflowing.


But last week, Mr. T's coach cancelled practice because of Homecoming festivities, so we hit the orchard right away after school.


An early heat wave followed by a late frost decimated most of the orchards in Wisconsin.  Many orchards lost 90% of their crop--imagine!


It was probably the hardest we've had to work to fill our bags, but we managed to bring home 53 pounds of Cortland and Jonagold (my personal favorite, next to Braeburn apples).  We're not "an apple a day" kind of people.  We're more like "2-3 apples a day," so 53 pounds will not last for the whole winter.  Thankfully Washington State had a bumper year for apples, so we can supplement our habit with imported apples.


We snuck in our trip in the nick of time because a few days later they closed the orchard for the season.  It's apple crisp, apple bread, apple pie, apples sliced, apples dipped in caramel, apples schmeared with peanut butter, apples chopped into salads, apples baked atop pork chops around here.


We also have our own stuff to harvest back home.  Not apples or pears, though.  Our trees were bare this year.


Pumpkins and gourds?  We have PLENTY.  And sunflower seeds, tomatoes, beets, carrots and onions, too.


That's the bounty from our pumpkin patch that we share with our neighbors.  Five flats full.  Our biggest harvest ever.  And I grew even more in my own garden from the seeds I saved last fall. 

Spill it, reader.  What was your bumper crop this year?

20 comments:

  1. The new banner is cute. But WHERE ARE THE BOOTS?

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  2. Pumpkins! You weren't kidding when you said you got a bumper crop. Awesome! Our big crops this year were tomatoes, potatoes, and butternut squash. As much as I don't want to give up the garden for the year, I'm excited to till and prep for spring. We're expanding the garden, so next year we're hoping for even more crops!

    And we're heading to the apple orchard tomorrow. I can't wait!

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  3. Definitely weeds. I have just finished a tomato sandwich made with my only non-split tomato harvested this year. A friend of Emma's found the one and only apple when they were climbing the tree last week.

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  4. Our local orchards aren't even doing pick your own this year---I heard that most of them had to ship in apples to sell! Our bumper crop this year is boxes. Everywhere I look, our house needs a map to just get to the fridge!

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  5. I had some good tomatoes, even though they're looking a little dodgy right now! Love your fall header!

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  6. It's a total drought season here. They ship in the apples after refrigerating them and then they taste rather mildewy. So, I go to the natural food store and pay big bucks for a decent apple and can't begin to afford the other fruit. $6.99 for a pint of strawberries? I don't think so.

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  7. Lucky you to live in a place where the local climate supports apples! Virginia apples are nasty--mealy and gross. It is too hot here for decent apples.

    We certainly have a bumper crop of stink bugs. And my fig tree relentlessly pumps out figs no matter how much I neglect it.

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  8. Sweet corn and Tomatoes. Farmguy wasn't paying attention when he planted the sweet corn, so canned 64pts froze 14qrt of creamed and ate until we couldn't eat any more. and gave away a bunch.
    Farmguy and a friend were headed to town today to see what they could do about picking up supplies for a hoop house, we have been able to cover the tomatoes to keep them from freezing, but have a bumper crop on the plants, just can't get any ripe ones. so, a hoop house it is.

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  9. Look at all your pumpkins! HOw fun is that?!? Glad you squeaked your apple trip in!

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  10. The bumpy, warty looking pumpkins are my absolute favorite!

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  11. How are you storing all those apples? I'm loving the SweeTangos from our Fresh Market, but I'm the only one in the family that eats fresh apples, so I only get 4 at a time.

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  12. We had a bumper crop this summer of about 30 tiny cherry tomatoes from our hanging planter. They were very sweet.

    I've been having 1 or 2 apples a day, just eating them fresh. I bought them at the farmer's market. Yum.

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  13. Wow, your pumpkins are impressive! We got three, keeping in line with one more pumpkin every year (this is year three.)

    We wanted to go apple picking last year but the two pick your own orchards were closed. One did not even bother opening, the other only sells apples in their store. Better luck next year.

    Our bumper crop is tomatoes. They are everywhere!
    Happy weekend to you.

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  14. I love your family traditions. Now, have you tried the Honeycrisp?

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  15. My bumper crop was butternut squash, of which I had three plants that were all volunteers from the compost that got dumped on the garden. I may actually not plant anything next year and just see what happens.

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  16. Yes! We love the annual trip to the apple orchard/pumpkin farm. It is a highlight! And we LOVE our apples around here. The kids just started begging for some applesauce and I made my first batch last week. We go through a TON of fruit, I suppose I should plant my own trees. Right now we are up to our ears in tomatoes. :)

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  17. Cherry tomatoes! Even more than the large red cherry variety, I have lots and lots of the small yellow pear tomatoes. They're so, so good! I've promised 30 of them for a 30th birthday surprise party on Friday, so I hope they don't freeze before then.

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  18. Totally jealous about the apple picking. That is all :)

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Spill it, reader.