Tuesday, September 21, 2010

County Line Orchard

Apple picking is one of those classic autumn activities. Including, of course, all the things that go along with apple picking - cider, donuts, caramel apples, tractor rides, and throw a few pumpkins in for good measure. I don't get the I-forget-that-nature-exists syndrome in Chicago as much as I did in New York, but it was really nice to get out of the city and breathe some fresh country air for an afternoon.

After much research, I found that County Line Orchard in Hobart, Indiana is the closest to downtown Chicago, has cider/donuts/goodies, and is open on Mondays.

We paid our $1 admission, got our bags for collecting apples, and jumped on the tractor ride.

The driver explained to us what was currently ripe and what wasn't ready yet. Good for picking - Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Gala, Jonathan, Jonagold, and Honeycrisp. Not ripe yet - Fuji and Suncrisp.

There's a cute little sign in front of each row of trees indicating the variety, time period of ripeness, and a row number.

So...what should we pick? Hmm.

We picked about 15 apples, equal parts Gala, Golden Delicious, and Jonagold. Here's some pretty Golden Delicious. The tractor driver told us to look for just a tinge of red to know that they're ripe.

There were lots of beautiful flowers along the way, too. A field of sunflowers, plenty of mums, and some wildflowers mixed in with the apple trees. See the bee in there? Bzzzz.

Next up, pumpkins. How fun is this pumpkin house?

I got a small pumpkin, and a little white and orange striped pumpkin. And one other mini pumpkin jumped into my bag, too.

Last but not least, the treats. They had the basics I was looking for - apple cider, and apple spiced donuts. They also had pies, kettle corn, jams, honey, marinades and dressings, breads, and I'm sure plenty of other things I didn't even see.

Here's my delicious apple spiced donut with cinnamon and sugar. Perfect end to the day. Now, time to make something with all those apples...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. I just moved from Boston a few months ago and I was dying to find a place to go apple picking. :)