Monday, October 2, 2006

U-Pick Apples & Happy Birthday

It was Art's birthday, and here's a picture of the cake he baked with Olivia. I could hear them having fun working in the kitchen together while Abigail and I played in another room. I should have more details since this is a food blog, but all I can say for sure is that:

1. The house had a wonderful banana aroma while it baked
2. The cake was white
3. The frosting was white
4. There was a layer of fresh banana between layers
5. There aren't enough candles inside a box
6. It was delicious

With all the bananas, it's no wonder Olivia's nickname for Art is Bananas Gorilla. Another of his cooking specialities is pancakes. So for his birthday, we decided it'd be funny if he found this when he reached inside the pantry instead of his trusty, clear, plastic, pancake container. He was surprised, thought it was funny, and likes it very much.

The girls and I also painted two little T-shirts with birthday greetings. They wore them to bed the night before, so in the morning Art was wished Happy Birthday right away. The girls wore their night shirts over their day clothes for the rest of the day, so you can see what they look like below.

"Go pick apples." was Art's response to, "What do you want to do for your birthday?"

So we drove 30 minutes to Tyler's Orchards (S. Slope Road, Emmett). This sign is the first thing we saw after turning on their road -- other than row after row of beautiful, fragrant trees. We put $6 dollars in the "cash cow," grabbed a kitty litter pail, and began wandering between the rows of red delicious apple trees.

The trees here are unusually short, and both girls had no problem reaching the apples.

For us, apple picking is a family thing -- picking apples in the crisp fall air, with the hazy autumn sun glinting through the branches. If you've never done it before, you owe it to yourself to do it. It's one of those old-fashioned romantic fall activities, like hay rides that make you feel like a kid again. And - bonus- you've got a bushel of apples for baking pies, making applesauce, dipping - or for just polishing on your sleeve.

Orchard owner comments that:

*Gala: "Gala is the best early apple for fresh eating."
*Jonathan: "It's the best cooking apple for pies."
*Honey Crisp: "This is the best eating apple, mid-season, if you like a tart, crisp apple,"
*Fuji: "They're not very good for cooking, but they're good for fresh-eating, and you can buy them later in the season."
*Pink Lady: "You can't cook a Pink Lady, but for fresh-eating, this -- and the Fuji -- are good picks and they'll hold up for most of the winter."

I think being surrounded by trees with delicious fruit was the most exciting for Abigail. I'd say fruit is her favorite food category and this was a slice of heaven for her. This is a rare moment when she didn't have an apple in each hand.

There was a produce stand farther up the road near their home. The girls couldn't resist these georgous, giant pumpkins. We also bought some peaches and plums here.

This was our pick of the day -- Red Delicious.

Which is the apple of your eye? Orchard owner picks his favorite apples:

In his opinion, the best fresh-eating are Honey Crisp, Gala, Fuji and Pink Lady.

Top cooking apples, he says, are Jonathan, Rome and Granny Smith.

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