Way before it was cool for city dwellers to get in touch with their food and community-supported agriculture popped up, I was taking trips with my elementary school class to orchards to pick apples from the branch. The trips are very fond memories I treasure. Fast-forward to now, a career in food and I wonder why I haven’t returned to that special moment.
Thanks to my creative and spirited friend Rashawn and her birthday plan, I returned to my youth when a group of 20 rendezvoused in Marlboro, N.Y., at Weed Orchards & Winery (@WeedOrchards, 43 Mount Zion Road., Marlboro, N.Y., 845-236-2684, www.weedorchards.com) to celebrate her and the day. The ride up is about one and a half hours, but on a sunny Saturday, every moment showed our beautiful state in its glory.
We arrived to music played by a live band, smells of barbecue and freshly made apple cider donuts, laughing and stunning vistas of orchards. Some quick recon on what we needed to do resulted in us renting a wagon so we wouldn’t have to schlep your loot around the grounds, and then fortifying with some food from the restaurant and tasting room. With map in hand, we were off to pick our hearts out.
We had to start in the area with the ripe peach and Italian plum trees. OK, so I had to sample the merchandise before making my final selections simply because I couldn’t wait. The fruit was juicy and delicious, replete with the sweet nectar running down my arm.
Looking for the rest of the group, we happened upon the peppers patch with red and green bell peppers plus hot and sweet banana peppers. Across the way, we found two of the many varieties of apples and picked some crispy Fujis.
I was transfixed by the rows and rows of produce but tempered myself from going crazy. I don’t like to waste food; however, the tomato plants were laden with plum, beefsteak and green tomatoes. I couldn’t help myself and went in. (I still have a mess of them!)
We continued up the hill, where I picked McIntosh, Crispin and Honeycrisp apple varieties. As we got to the top of the hill, my nose was talking to me. Somewhere below I knew I would find some Concord grapes. And there they were, like clusters of jewels just waiting for their moment to shine. Four bunches went in the wagon.
Once the picking was done, we all sat down to eat, sample Weed Vineyards’ apple wine and sing happy birthday over an apple cider donut “cake.” We all settled up our efforts, and whatever we paid for our loot that day would have been three or four times the cost in the city.
Happy birthday again, Rashawn! Thank you for creating a new old food memory!
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Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl or on Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.