My favorite memories of fall as a kid were when my family would go to the Apple Orchard near Stillwater, Minnesota. They had a hayride, a pumpkin patch and all the apple treats you could ever want....like Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream...yum.
Since moving to North Carolina, I've felt deprived during this season. I miss my apples. They try to make up for it with big corn mazes and tractors, but nothing compares to the fresh smell of apples. So, when we planned to go to Cleveland for a weekend, I made sure to put a visit to an orchard on the to-do list. Our friend Kathy, who we stayed with, brought us to the cutest little orchard just 20 minutes from her home. Just stepping out of the car, I could smell that sweet apple scent and it brought me back to my MInnesota orchards.
We all ate apple cider donuts without any guilt. Kathy finished hers and said, "that felt so good, I just ate that donut with reckless abandon!" We loaded up on apple goodies like apple kettle corn and caramel apples. We went through the apple tasting line and actually found a variety that I consider better, yes BETTER, than Honeycrisp. The Empire apple people, try it. Sad thing is I don't think they have it here in the south, or if they do it probably wouldn't taste as good.
I kind of consider myself a bit of an apple connoisseur. Honeycrisp used to be at the top of my list. Now it's Empire. Braeburn are good in Minnesota but not here in NC. Gala or Pink Lady are my backups when Honeycrisps aren't available here.
And Red Delicious is at the bottom. Seriously, if you actually admit to liking Red Delicious, I will question your judgement and probably lose a bit of respect for you as a human being. Sorry that sounds harsh (but it's true).
Anyway, here are some pics from our time at the orchard. Thank you for the fun Kathy!