Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Remember Whensday: Apple Season

Dad and Philip picking apples- 1966

My mother's parents purchased land about five miles from their small home town and planted many trees in the sandy soil. My grandfather grew up in the Thornbury, Ontario area which is still well known for its apple orchards. He planted a large apple orchard at the farm with a good variety of heritage apples. I knew the difference between Snows, Wealthys, Macintosh, Tolman Sweets, Cortlands and Spy apples when I was still a child. Granddad died well before I was born and my uncle managed the farm for many years. Each fall we spent weekends picking apples for Uncle Bill and were paid by the bushel for our labours. Afterward, we collected "grounders" which we took home free of charge. I loved those fall weekends when the air was fresh, the trees were turning colour, and the milkweed pods were dry and silky.

Mom, Nathan and I admiring the fall colours- 1962

The farm was large and we had time to explore the lower pasture, the pines and the pond on the other side of the large barn. There were swings and a one room cabin with a screened in porch where we could eat our lunch. Our water was pumped from a well which had an green wooden handle and the facilities consisted of a single seater out house.

Philip and Mom at the cider press- 1968

There was an old cider press near the water pump where we could make some freshly squeezed apple juice. It would become fermented very quickly as it was not pasteurized.
Apples remain my favourite fruit and I look forward to tasting my first crisp fall apple each year. Mom always had a very large bowl of applesauce on the counter and we ate it for dessert most nights. Sometimes we had it with fresh gingerbread and often with fresh muffins.

Stephen (on right corner) and Mark (middle with red shirt and glasses) on farm wagon- 1968

I bought some new apples at the market last weekend and they should be coming to their peak by the end of the month. And I will make applesauce and apple crisp and all kinds of other apple recipes. But nothing beats a fresh apple just picked from the tree, juicy, sweet and delicious!

(My cousins still run the farm and here is a link to their website)

20 comments:

  1. Can't wait for the Jonagolds and Jonamacs to start pouring in.

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  2. You are very lucky to have your own orchards. I love picking, not so much as eating, just picking. About 30 years ago, it was past the end of the season, the farmer left the apples to grow. They sold for ten cts a kilo, they were big apples. I was the best experience I had.

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  3. Fresh apples are the best. When I lived in central Washington I learned that. The Delicious were the size of grapefruits and just as juicy. What wonderful memories you've shared with us. Thanks.

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  4. What wonderful memories, and a wonderful blog. Thank you for sharing so openly. I'll be back.

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  5. Ahhh... apples. I love this time of year and seeing all the roadside stands and gallons of cider. :c) What great memories Ruth.

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  6. Oh, the harvest in the fall of all produce. I hate the frost to come but love the harvest.
    Thanks.

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  7. Precious Memeories!Some of what you describe is so much like my growing up years.Thanks for refreshing my memory.
    Blessings,Ruth

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  8. What great growing up years you had, Ruth! I too love the just-picked apples (we have 4 apple trees). Freshly squeezed apple juice is as sweet as honey--so different from the processed apple juice you get at a store.

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  9. I can almost taste the apples, my mouth is watering! Some of these varieties (in fact , most of these varieties) I have never heard of.
    Lovely memories.

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  10. Since Michael and I have lived together we go apple picking at one of our local orchards around Autumn Equinox. This will be Damian's second time and I hope he remembers these trips as fondly as you remember yours.

    What is your favorite apple?

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  11. Now you have me hankering for an apple pie. :)

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  12. Jaspenelle asked....
    What is your favorite apple?

    Cortland...hands down... lovely and sweet for eating and it makes the best applesauce. They need a bit of frost before they are ready and I am waiting.

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  13. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this post, the memories and the photos. I love heritage apples, too! Of course progess is a good thing in most ways (say, plumbing) but what wonderful uncomplicated times you had, to cherish!

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  14. I too, am looking forward to the apples this fall. I love applesauce, dried apples, apple pie, apple cake, apples any old way. That applesauce and gingerbread ... got my mouth to watering. I've been eying my ginger bread recipe for days now.

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  15. Your memories read like a perfect Autumn storybook and it makes me hopeful that I can expose my kids to a small sample of the simpler times that once were, as they grow. This entry filled my heart to full.

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  16. Gorgeous photographs. Interestingly enough, those exact same apple bags are still used just as they were a century ago. The county bordering ours is North Carolina's largest apple producing county. I love the "old" apples I recall as a child, Virginia Beauties, Rome, Cortland, Grimes Golden and McIntosh. Yummmm!

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  17. Mexico Mom8:23 pm GMT-4

    We have so many varieties of lushes tropical fruit on our property in Mexico. I have always been a fruit fanatic - BUT nothing is better than a tree ripen apple from Devins Orchards - cortlands for eating, northern spies for pies, snows for Harvest Festivals and Wolf Rivers for baked apples with brown sugar and cinnamon in the hollowed out centers as they bake. Can hardly wait for our visit to Kitchener and Aurora in September & early October to indulge.

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  18. What wonderful memories and great pictures. Toleman Apple - can we get them here? I don't recall seeing them.

    I love apple crisp warmed up with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream. I can smell it and taste it now!

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  19. Living in Washington, it is very easy to get spoiled having ready access to fresh apples. We have a tree in our yard that gives us fruit for applesauce and pies. I still love the taste of fresh cider and is something I always look forward to in the fall.

    Thanks for sharing such great pictures this week.

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  20. HI Ruth. What a great photo-essay; I really liked the way you showed different years and times at the orchard. I am so thirsty for a good mug of cider now!

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