Used to be a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   : now A Colorado Girl

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pick Me!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Late September/early October is apple picking season here in New Jersey and New York. We have many U-Pick orchards close by in both northern NJ and around Warwick, NY. While Mom was here on her last visit, she wanted to pick a couple of bags of apples. So, one fine day we headed off to do just that. Due to perfect weather conditions, the apple crop this year was a banner one. Trees were bursting with fragrant red fruit.

We chose Masker Orchards in Warwick. Family owned and run, Masker does not sell their fruit to the mass market. They are strictly a U-Pick orchard. You check in at the entrance and they give you plastic sacks for your picked purchases. The map of the orchard is printed on the sack, where which type of apple tree is planted. We were after Empires [a combination of Red Delicious and Jonathan] and Cortlands. The roads are rutted and dirt, and uphill. We had some trouble navigating, but finally figured out how to read the map.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

We found that the Cortlands were bare of apples. Darn, they’re good cooking apples. There were plenty of Empires, and in just a few short minutes we had a bag full. There were so many perfect apples on each and every branch that we only picked from two trees and you could not tell we had picked any. I have never seen so many gorgeous apples! Mom wanted another bag of a different variety. Since the Johnagolds were all gone as well, we had to settle for Red Delicious. Two huge, ready-to-burst bags later and we were good to go. I had no idea what Mom was going to do with all those apples!

I’m not that much of a fan of Red Delicious, but they were good. The Empires were awesome. I wish now that I had picked my own bag, but at the time I couldn’t envision what I was going to do with 40-some-odd apples. Next year I will definitely pick my own bag. It makes a huge difference in flavor to eat them picked right off the tree. CRUNCH! Becky had the delicious lingering smell of parfum des pommes for days afterward. Yum.

The Warwick Valley a few weeks later…
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

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