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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Apple Picking Party

Today was a glorious day! After I picked up Owen from school we ventured with some friends to Lawrence Farms, near the Beacon Bridge. Besides the acres of apples, grapes, pumpkins, and gobs of vegetables, they have hay rides (sleigh rides in winter), a duck pond, apple cider, freshly made apple spice doughnuts, AND a miniature town of about 8 kid sized buildings for the kids to run free and explore. We planned to first enjoy our picnic lunch, let the kids play a bit, and then find some tasty apples to pick and take home.

I hit the first snag 3 minutes into the drive. Being the super thoughtful mommy I am, I had packed a very nutritious and exciting picnic for the kids. However, I was so concerned the grapes would still be cold at lunch time that I neglected to pack the lunch bag in the car. The worst part was that I had grilled my panini at the last minute (scrummy goat cheese and roasted pepper, BTW), that I grabbed MY lunch and freshly brewed green tea. I did try and give the flat bread to Caroline on the car ride there, but she wasn't too interested. Luckily, Lawrence Farms has a small food line with super healthy items such as doughnuts, french fries, cookies, hot dogs, and pizza. The kids were actually quite happy with the pizza and apple cider (yum!) but I had that mommy guilt until every crumb of that pizza was swallowed.

The kids ran themselves silly in the little play town. Who wouldn't love a mini-sized firehouse with pole and slide, or a jail house with real cells??!!! I think they were ready to drop, but we moms were ready for our mission to find exquisite apples AND get some cute fall pictures of the kids picking apples. We rented a wagon and ventured out to the apple trees.

I think the farm has 12 different types of apples, and the Fuji (my favorite) are virtually on the farthest corner of the farm...and since the boys were already exhausted, there would be no Fujis for me today. No worries! We had a blast. First we started in the vineyards, where the kids thoroughly enjoyed peering through the vines to find the grape clusters. Owen is a natural at this, as he practices the art of "peering and peeking" every time we visit a clothing store (fun for me!) The grapes were juicy and I could vividly imagine how fab the wine would be....maybe in 8 months I"ll taste the real thing. We were ready to pick apples...however, the first rows of trees we walked had no apples within our reach (much less the kids.) So THAT'S why they have those handy apple pickers! It looks like a long rake, only the end resembles more of a "claw" with a small basket to catch the apple before it falls among the rotted ones on the ground. The boys thought it was the best super hero weapon they'd ever seen! Needless to say, we walked away with probably 10 pounds of apples.

I highly recommend Lawrence Farms if you're in the Newburgh area. (They even have birthday party packages- what a great idea!) I also found a link that lists all the Apple Orchards in New York State in case you're interested:

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