The fall is so amazing in the Annapolis Valley. The golden glow of the dried corn standing in perfect rows makes everything look and feel warm and toasty. When one is driving down the 101, the rows stretch along and up over the hills and around little islands of Maple, Ash and Oaks trees that are located in weird little clusters throughout the fields. I am not sure why those clusters of trees have been allowed to stay where they are, because they must be annoying to the farmers... perhaps they are left there to break up a boring job of plowing and planting in straight lines. I am not sure why, but I am pleased they are there... they add beautiful color in the spring and fall...
Apple trees that line the highway have either weighed down limbs dotted with bright red apples, ready for picking.... or.... limbs that are springing in the winds... finally free of their heavy burden.
The colors are spectacular throughout the valley and today's winds and yesterday's rains are starting to do their job in blowing those colors all over the yards, driveways and fields... the deflowering of fall has finally arrived.
A couple of Saturday's ago, the weather was predicted as sunny and cool. A perfect day for a few staff members, friends and family to head up to this wonderful apple orchard on South Mountain. This orchard is a family run operation called Stonehenge Farms. Their marketing scheme is unique and wonderful. This family have hundreds of trees in many varieties. They run an "Adopt a Tree" program, where you can pay them to adopt a tree in the spring (or anytime, really). This tree is yours all spring, summer and fall... offering the opportunity for you to visit your tree with family... maybe have a picnic... take family pictures.... whatever you might like. Then in the fall, when your tree is ready for picking... you own all the apples on your tree. Its a fun idea and very reasonable priced as well, and he guarantees you at least 200 lbs of apples!
This particular Saturday (3 weeks ago, now) started off pretty dull and cloudy but since the weather man said sunny... we felt it was just a matter of time... til the clouds broke.
They indeed broke open but it wasn't sunshine that spilled out of them... but rain... as we drove to the orchard. When we arrived, Debbie and Ashley were sitting in their car, waiting for us, and the rains to stop. You know, the rains never really stopped, they turned to drizzle.. but once we toughened up and decided to pick anyway, we barely noticed the rain. We had a great time.
We were there to pick two trees full of McIntosh apples to give to Kingston School's Breakfast & Snack Program. Debbie and her family generously donated the trees to our program as well as provided all the bins to fill, and came to pick! Hows that for awesome. We all started off with all the lowest branches where the picking was easy.
Our two smallest brave pickers, Abby and Micheal were essential in picking up the "drops" from the ground. Once an apple drops (naturally or victim of over zealous pickers!) they aren't classed as eating apples as they bruise so easily. We donated those to our cafeteria who has been making apple sauce, apple crisp and cakes from them. Once the low branches were cleaned off, the reaching began.
Even though we had several very tall people (Chantal, Ashley and Heather (sort of)), we couldn't get to the top of the trees... and the ladders got dragged over.
The apple baskets also came out, thanks to Debbie and her apple orchard connections! Chantal modeled they're beauty and usefulness. Kerry took a turn too, and Terry finished off the day with one.
We didn't get all the apples picked because we didn't have enough bins. Imagine. We filled the back of three vans with bins and delivered them to the cold room at the school. In all, including a large bin of drops, we picked about 600 lbs of apples. We went back at the end of the week with a couple more bins but by then, all the high up apples had dropped and we filled two more large bins with drops for the cafeteria.
A great day with family and friends. Thanks Debbie and Brian for your generosity!
Thanks everyone else for coming out on a rainy day to pick!