It seems apple pickin’ is a tradition in America in fall and I was desperate to get a look in! The German took a little bit more persuading though – turns out the farmer’s boy was forced to pick apples from his dad’s trees when he was a child so the thought of heading to an orchard to pick apples transported him back to the days when he didn’t really enjoy heading up a ladder and pulling them from a tree! But I didn’t let this stop me…oh no! That boy was heading to an orchard with his super excited wife!!!
Now I should point out that I’m not the biggest fruit eater (I know I should eat more of it!) and especially not apples but I wanted to apple pick anyway! We need to immerse ourselves into our new life!! So we wound up here:
Yep it looks quiet, calm and relaxing however it seems the rest of Georgia had the same idea! We drove up the hill towards Mercier Orchards on a sunny Sunday afternoon and we were amazed by the amount of cars and people milling around! The car park was rammed but we managed to find a space and I jumped out of the car ready to get my fill of apples! Yay!
Now you can only pick your own on Saturdays and Sundays in October so it was pretty busy but we paid our $12 ($10 for a bag of apples, $2 so that the German could also get on the tractor and come to the orchard!) and waited in line until the tractor arrived – yep we were heading to the orchard on a tractor! Could this get any better?! (By this point the German was shaking his head at me and coming out with the same line of ‘I used to do this when I was little’ I continued to point out that I did not!!) After a few minutes of this:
We arrived at the part of the orchard we were allowed to pick apples from! Wooo! We all piled off the tractor and had a little talk from one of the workers about how to pick an apple (the German once again shook his head at this one!) the apples we were allowed to pick and the few rules they had (like if more than one apple falls when you pick one take that one as well!) before we were set off on our merry way!
We were greeted with row upon row of trees laden with thousands of apples for us to choose from – we could pick Rome apples, Fuji, Pink Lady, Braeburn and Cameos and I was eager to try them all! So off we trotted to fill our bag! We started off with some of these:
Apparently they’re supposed to be used for cooking but after tasting one we decided they were sweet enough to tuck into at any time! A few of them made their way into our bag! The Pink Lady’s were next and I was excited – if I ever did eat an apple back in the UK this was the one I would choose! We headed through the rows, found them, picked one and tucked in but sadly it wasn’t what I remembered. Boooo. Ah well, there was a lot more to choose from!
We moved onto the Fuji apples and they were a big success! Very sweet and tasty! A lot of this happened in this area:
That bag of mine was getting full but we still had other varieties to try so off we went to the Braeburns. Now these looked tempting – a mixture of red and green – but after tasting one we weren’t very impressed so we skipped them and headed for the final variety, the Cameo. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of these before but after sampling one they were a big hit! We piled some into our bag until it was full to bursting! Our apple pickin’ days were done. Booooo! So we jumped back on the tractor and headed to the farm where our adventure was about to continue and the German was about to turn into my dad!
Of course the orchard had a shop and inside it was everything apple based you can imagine!! It was HUGE! There were massive bags of apples to buy for in case you didn’t want to pick them yourself, jams, jellies, salad dressings, muffin and cake mixes, vegetables and of course apple cider amongst many, many other things and not forgetting their famous fried apple pies! Everything is fried here in the south so the idea of a fried apple pie didn’t really surprise me!
Now here’s where the German turns into my dad…we were making our way around the shop when I spotted a lovely looking loaf of bread, yum! I think it was some sort of roasted garlic flavour or something, whatever it was it looked good and I was down for taking some of that home! It appeared the German was, until I told him the price! Now you have to remember the German works in the food industry and therefore knows a lot about prices and there was no way he was paying $5 for a loaf of bread! Suddenly I was transported back to my childhood when my dad would say things like ‘I’m not paying that!’ and ‘how much? I don’t think so Rachel!’ The bread was left on the shelf. I did manage to persuade him to invest in some honey mustard pretzel dip (after some protests about the price!) and of course we couldn’t leave without trying one of those famous fried apple pies! Man, they were good!!!
I now feel like I’ve passed another hurdle into becoming a fully fledged adoptive Georgian – apple pickin’ in fall! I definitely enjoyed it and I think it was probably one of the healthiest days I’ve had since arriving in America – in fact I’ve never eaten so much apple in one day in my life!! And they’re still getting tucked into now – just yesterday I whipped up a pork tenderloin with apples in the slow cooker!! The German may protest but we’ll be heading back their next year whether he likes it or not!