Posts Tagged ‘apples’

From Virginia’s Eastern Shore To The Charlottesville, Virginia Mountains- Our Annual Trek For Apples

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Three hours is all it takes to travel from our sandy seashore to the top of Carter Mountain outside  Charlottesville, Virginia but what a change in scenery and pace,  folks just zipping around those mountain curves like the blazes. ( Me,  I  just drive  along at a good pace but not trying to set any records either. )  It’s really beautiful on top of Carter Mountain this time of year,  off in the distance the Blue Ridge peaks look very blue.  Close up,  the mountain foliage  is almost past  its peak whereas  back on the Eastern Shore,  a lot of the trees are just slowly beginning to turn.

When my kids were small they loved cider and a little song called Sipping Cider Through A Straw.  Now that they’re adults they still love sipping cider and Carter Mountain Orchard is an excellent place to do just that.  The week-end before Halloween is a busy time at the orchard,  it seemed  like their winding  mountain road was bumper to bumper,  both going up and coming down,  cars chuck full of pumpkins, apples and apple cider.  But nobody was  impatient or honking,  they were  just enjoying the crisp fall air permeated by the sweet smell of apple pies baking in the orchard’s little bakery.  Actually,  we like Carter’s  apple cider donuts just as much as their apple  pie– if you’ve never had one,  let me say that it’s hard to beat a fresh cider donut ( or 2 ) paired with a cup of  hot spiced cider as an autumn treat.

Anyway, the plan was to meet up with our son and crew to have lunch atop the mountain and then pick apples.  BBQ sandwiches and real french fries  ( not frozen mushy things so often served)  washed down with fresh-pressed apple cider,  a tasty lunch for sure,  just close the eyes to the calories !   But the rest of the  plan was to work off some of those calories by picking apples.  After the kids enjoyed a ride around the orchard on a tractor-pulled hay-wagon,  we all set off  for the U-Pick section of  Fugi apples.  In my opinion,  Fugi’s are a  perfect apple for both eating and cooking.  Picking was the easy part– toting about 100 pounds of apples down the mountain while corralling 3 little running, laughing  grandkids was a challenge but we managed it.   By then the time had finally come to pick the Great Pumpkin.  After much searching,  evaluating and advocating for a particular favorite,  the kids at last  found a pumpkin upon which they could all agree,  thank Heavens for that !

Then they were off to make a couple other stops,  leaving my husband and I to settle down and relax at one of the picnic tables to enjoy the long view out to the Blue Ridge and to have a wee bit of dessert….. an apple cider donut and a cup of cider,  of course.   We wrapped up the afternoon by selecting a few other varieties from the pre-picked bins, some Jonathans,  a few Granny Smith,  some McIntosh,  some Staymans, etc. .  When cooked together into an applesauce,  the flavor of a mixture of different varieties of  tart-sweet apples like these is incomparable.  ( Why the only so- called applesauce you can buy in grocery stores is some thin,  runny,  no- texture,  flavorless  stuff which has no relationship to what real applesauce actually is if you make it at home,  I truly can not understand.  Really,  how hard should it be to make a decent, delicious commercial applesauce ?  Some company should make that their calling– bringing real applesauce to the market ! )

Last item on our Carter Mountain Orchard to-do list was to get a bushel of  Pink Lady apples.  Having had our fill of apple picking for the day,  we  opted for a pre-picked bushel of these beautiful apples,  each one sporting a wide pink blush.  For staying power in a refrigerator,  a Pink  Lady is hard to beat.  They are a wonderful all- around apple for  eating,  Waldorf salads,  frying,  etc.,  etc.   So,  loaded up with apples,  apple cider, apple cider donuts and jars of apple butter,  we were ready to say goodby to Carter Mountain Orchard ( )  until next year’s  apple trek from Virginia’s Eastern Shore to Charlottesville, Virginia.

I Can’t Believe That My Favorite Month On Virginia’s Eastern Shore Is Almost Over !

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

From Our Deck The Water Looks Bluer In October

October on the Eastern Shore of Virginia is just the best month of the year,  to me anyway.  The clear blue skies and the Indian Summer warm days are so delightful,  nearly perfect really.  The leaves start to turn,  but very slowly.   My dogwoods and crepe myrtles are coloring up beautifully  but the deep reds and oranges of hickory and oaks have yet to really start.  Fall camellias are just starting  to bloom,  pansies are ready to plant,  time to put collards and kale in the garden and buy a few mums for the porch steps to enjoy as I come and go.   Sitting on the deck enjoying the views,  for some reason the water just seems bluer to me in October.  Fall here is  long- sleeve- cotton- blouse weather,  not yet time for a sweater or windbreaker,  which is good because I hate toting that stuff around,  putting them on,  taking them off.  ( Actually I’d rather be a little cold than lug a sweater around even in December.  January is a different story. )

Colorful Fall Foliage In The Blue Ridge Mountains

And there’s always a lot going on in October both on the Eastern Shore and around Virginia.  It’s almost time for our annual Blue Ridge mountain trip to Carter Mountain Orchard  in Charlottesville, Virginia,   home to  Pink Lady,  Fugi,  Stayman Winesap, Yellow Delicious and  Granny Smith apples— all favorites of our family.  Time to put a couple bushels in the garage refrigerator for pies and Waldorf salads, etc. through the winter.   Fall foliage will be at its peak up in the Blue Ridge Mountains,  a lovely sight indeed.  And the 20 + wineries there will nearly all be having special tasting room treats.  It’s an easy trip,  just over a three hour drive  from Virginia’s Eastern Shore to Charlottesville  ( C-ville as the locals there call it ),  through some beautiful scenery.  Going to Carter Mountain for apples, apple cider and apple butter plus some side ventures for wine to Jefferson Vineyard and Barboursville Vineyard,  both a part of the Monticello appellation ( )  is annual October tradition for my husband and I.   Part of the  “October is my favorite month”  thing —  good apples,  good wines ,  good times.

October Is The Time To Plant Pansies And Mums On Virginia's Eastern Shore

Here on the Eastern Shore,  the October foodie thing,  the annual Harvest Festival has come and gone.  ( In fact, I just finished a week of rice cakes and cottage cheese for lunch,  thanks to over- indulgence at the Harvest Fest,  especially on crabcakes and the always fantastic sweet potato pie.)   The October birdie thing,  the 18th annual Birding Festival  has also come and gone.   But the birds,  especially the beautiful songbirds and large raptors,  are still migrating through.  Good luck guys and gals,  it’s a long,  long way to Central and South America.   ( Ever wonder if  birds say to themselves,  in bird speak obviously,   ” This migration thing is a severe pain in the tukus —  let’s just say   “No”  next year and go to Miami instead !”  )   The annual Chili and Chowder Cook-off  held in Chincoteague, Virginia  each year in  October for the last eleven years has also come and gone.  The chili and  chowder part is great–  I love chili,  my husband loves clam chowder,  so it’s  a  win-win event for us.  But Treat or Treat is still to come.  I’m looking forward  pumpkin carving and walking around the  “big block”  in the little town of Cheriton with my grandkids on Halloween as they collect enough goodies to provide another year of  job security for their dentist.   And then, inevitably,  October,  my favorite month on Virginia’s Eastern Shore,  will be over yet again.