Apple Orchard Picnic and Pie
Organizing a fall family outing is easy when you live in orchard countryâ€¦especially when apple orchards offer a U-Pick option. Choose a day and an orchard, pack the kids into your car, and head out for a day in the fresh air and sunshine. It's not just a pleasant day in its own right, but a chance to help your kids understand the connections between the land and their food.
Choosing Your Orchard
Start by deciding in advance how far you're willing to drive for your day's outing, and work backward from there to choose your destination. Some farms are more kid-friendly than others, with plenty of entertainment and distractions to keep your youngsters occupied. Bear in mind that the more fun they offer, the more time you'll want to allocate.Â Ask around before making your decision, and call first to double-check picking hours and which apples are currently available.
Some Practical Preparation
As with any other road trip, a bit of forethought can help make your day more enjoyable. Pack rubber boots for your kids to wear and a change of clothing, in case the orchard area is muddy on the day of your visit. Other basics include sunblock in case it's hot, sweaters in case it's cold, and raincoats or ponchos in case it starts to rain while you're out. A few bandages in case of mishaps, and some ointment in case of bug bites, are worth packing along as well.
Packing the Picnic
Keep things simple when you pack the lunch for your farm outing. Bring lots of finger foods for your little ones to snack on, so they stay fueled for the extra fresh air and activity. Pack your cooler full of foods like sandwiches and cookies. If the weather is unpredictable or cool, keep a separate insulated container for soup or hot beverages.
Decide in advance how many apples you need, and what kinds. If you're primarily interested in apples for eating, you have plenty of choices â€“ Fuji, Honeycrisp and Jonagold spring to mind â€“ but some apples will store better than others, so ask the farmers for advice. The same goes for baking apples, which include Jonathan and Cortland. Picking more apples than you can use is wasteful, as well as costly. It's not a bad idea to bring along your own bags or baskets for the apples, just in case the farm has a busy day and runs low on supplies.
Back Home Again
The obvious way to celebrate a day in the orchard is with apple desserts. Apple crisp is an appealing option, because it's quicker and easier to prepare than most others. You can level the playing field by preparing the pie crust ahead of time, or by picking up prepared pie crust from the store on your way home. Whatever approach you take, your kids will appreciate dessert even more after picking the apples themselves.