The past two weekends I spent delighting in the newly crisped, fall air (!) with a slew of outdoor activities, solidifying that my busy summer days have been left behind. Happy to put an end to the month’s long blogging hiatus, I am excited to share in future posts the culinary inspirations that filled my days – from eye-opening, bursts of flavor in Malaysia to the freshest of crustaceans in Maine; these are just two of the many experiences to have kept my epicurean love alive.
As an ode to summer and celebration of the transition in season, a weekend activity iconic of both summer and fall was planned.
Welcome to Highland Orchards outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pick Your Own (PYO) season is never-ending, with a rotating cast of produce available for, well, picking. On a visit the first weekend of September, my pals and I were lucky enough to catch the very last red raspberries (usually good only through mid-August) and the late-summer/early-fall apples. Fun!
This was my first time berry picking, so thrilled to finally mark it off of my to-do list. Red raspberries grow on bushes – thorny ones, at that – planted in perfectly aligned rows that grow to be about 3-5’ tall. Their peak season in the Northeast runs from early-June through mid-August, so finding ripe berries during this venture was a bit of a task. Terribly rewarding it was to discover a cluster of berries that could be plucked from their stem, and then added to a gradually building pile in our carton.
Apples, on the other hand, are a fruit that I have picked since childhood. Each fall my Dad would take his three girls to the nearby golf course where apple trees lined the putting green perimeter. After gathering all of the low-growing apples we could, later that night my Mom would make a deliciously, sweet pie. Flash-forward a decade, almost two, and I still love the memories and flavors that apple picking can produce. Jonathan and McIntosh were available at Highland on this trip; two crisp apples with bright white flesh and sweet flavor – perfect for baking.
Like any good PYO day, the evening was filled with recipe searching and a baking oven emitting homey, flavorful scents. In addition to a dozen of BEST of PHILLY Apple Cider Donuts picked up earlier that afternoon (a must), this was a day complete! Recipes to come that I hope you enjoy – glad to be back!