I think I have touched on this topic before – how autumn is my favorite season of the year. I reminded myself this past weekend on why this is so. And, wouldn’t you know it involves food.
No, it was not the need to drive around my lawn mulching the way-too-many leaves that had fallen there. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy driving the length and breadth of my lawn on my most recent new vehicle. This might be worthy of its own post some time, but there is time for that later. Because last weekend was arguably “Peak Fall” and Peak Fall should not be wasted. So we took a trip to the apple orchard.
Why do we always need to call it an apple orchard? There may be other kinds of orchards in other parts of the country/world, but where I live there are no other things grown in anything called an “orchard”. Or if there are such fruits they occur rarely enough that any orchard-obtained fruit bears the burden of proof for identifying the nature of its orchard. So, perhaps “apple orchard” is one of those terms like “hot water heater” which I must begin watching and giving myself a sharp smack on the hand when I slip up.
But where was I. Oh yes, a trip to the
apple orchard. (Ow.) There is an old orchard on the far south side of Indianapolis where Marianne’s family has gone for generations. Alas, they have sold much of their land and seem to have become little more than a store to sell stuff they either grow far away or buy from other growers. I can’t really tell but Marianne swears that the cider is not as good as it used to be, so we have been looking for a new orchard.
I had remembered one a couple of years ago, but could not find reference to it when I looked online. However, I recently determined that only the name has changed. It was my sentimental favorite because of a slushie. It is now named for the nearby town of Pleasant View. I’m not sure about that name as there is not a lot of pleasant to view. Something that probably goes double for inhabitants of the Pleasant View Cemetery. But following a short, winding drive out of the little townlet we found the orchard.
One of my kids ran in cross country in 7th and 8th grade. This kid was not really built for cross country, but he did the hard work of training and ran every week. I think it was when we went to a distant park for a City cross country meet, the last one of the year. It was a fairly warm day for October and at the end of the race both parent and kid were hot, tired and thirsty.
OK smarty, I didn’t run in the cross country meet, and only stood there cheering my kid. But I had not spent weeks training for this either, so the walking all over a stupidly huge park on a hot day made me hot tired and thirsty too. And I was a lot older. Don’t judge.
When we got in the car the request was made to check out the orchard, signs for which we had passed on our drive to the park. We went back looking for the sign and wound our way to the place, where we found the coolest thing ever: apple cider slushies.
Maybe you don’t think this is the coolest thing ever, but I remember that day like it was yesterday. We each got a big styrofoam cupfull and proceeded to slurp on the most refreshing thing either of us has ever experienced. Let me say that again: EVER EXPERIENCED! Speaking for myself at least, you know how sometimes something can really hit the spot? That day, the apple cider slushie could not have hit that spot for maximum personal pleasure any more squarely.
I was so disappointed when Marianne’s ancestral orchard offered a slushie that was the same price but in a tiny cup – what a ripoff. But now that her old orchard had become dead to her, maybe the place with the fab slushies could apply to become our new Official Cavanaugh Family Orchard.
I am happy to report that I could still get that big cup of apple cider slushie for $3, in addition to a couple bags of some of the prettiest apples I have seen in awhile. And that slushie was just as good as I remembered it. Plus their cider is cheaper than the other place by about a buck fifty for a gallon. Win-win! So it looks like the Pleasant View Orchard is on the inside track to become our go-to in future falls.
The apples are earmarked for one of Marianne’s apple crisps. When she first made it, I thought apple crisp was just the lazy baker’s version of an apple pie, but I have come around – it is quite deserving in the cornucopia of fall-fruit-desserts. Maybe there will be enough left for an apple pie, too.
I think we are beginning the downhill side of Fall, which I will admit becomes pretty bleak by the time it comes to a close. I don’t think rainy days in late November are anybody’s favorites – unless there is a big turkey dinner involved. You Canadians who celebrate Thanksgiving early seem to have removed the only reason late November should exist at all.
But even if the outdoors turns all brown and dreary, there will be hot apple crisp and dreams of more of those delightful slushies next year.
Photo Credit: This fabulous photo was found at realthekitchenandbeyond.com where Heather McCurdy tells us how we can make a delicious version at home. She clearly thought ahead and took a photo before slurping it down as I did.