• Pick Your Own

    October 9, 2011

    Yesterday, Mal and I went apple picking at Rocky Brook Orchard in Middletown, Rhode Island. We’ve wanted to go apple picking for weeks now, so we Googled nearby orchards and found this one.

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    Rocky Brook is a small orchard that offers pick your own apples, peaches, and pears. Surprisingly, the orchard has 45 different varieties of apples, including many rare ones. By 2012, the orchard plans to have 60 varieties of apples!

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    Rocky Brook Orchard has a system to make it easier for their customers to find the varieties of apples which are ripe to pick. The trees are not planted in specific rows, so it’s somewhat difficult to tell which variety is which. To help with this, the folks at Rocky Brook Orchard tied a small wooden tag with the type of apple carved into it on each tree. (We even saw a couple of tags labeled with just a question mark. I wonder if they were rare varieties?) The tags hang near the bottom of the tree truck, so they’re easy to see. Hanging beneath the tag is a small painted spool. The color of the spool lets you know the time of year that the apple is ripe. For instance, the ripening period for yellow is late September-early October.

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    Maybe tons of orchards have this same system, but Mal and I thought it was genius.

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    One of my favorite kinds of apples is Macoun (crisp + tart), so as soon as we found a tree, I loaded up our bag. It’s a good thing Mal likes them too! He loves all apples.

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    The rest of our bag was filled with a mix of apples– Macintosh, Red Delicious, Cortland, Empire. Unfortunately, the peaches were already picked and the pears weren’t quite ripe yet, so we didn’t get any. Mal and I only planned to pick apples, so we weren’t disappointed. I mean, apples = apple crisp.

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    Have you been apple picking this year? What other kinds of fruit have you picked?

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    { 93 comments… read them below or add one }

    erica October 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    it seems like everyone is going apple pickin’! i’m so jealous, no apple orchards here :(

    looks like a lot of fall fun!

    Reply

    Hilary October 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I have never been apple picking…which is silly, because I live in the middle of a HUGE apple-growing area. I always pick strawberries at least once a year though, and have raspberries in my backyard that I pick. I’ve done cherries and blueberries once or twice too.

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    Tina October 9, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    You should go sometime! :)

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    Pam October 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I love Macoun apples too! Never been apple picking although I’m from upstate NY, now living down in the Sunshine State.
    My sister goes to Fly Creek near Cooperstown, NY every year and they always have tons of macouns for purchase, not sure if they have apple picking there but they do have tons of great samples in their store!

    Reply

    Stephanie October 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I love apple picking. I loved climbing the rickety wooden ladders with my parents when we were kids. Now, of course, there are no longer rickety wooden ladders at u-pick farms! Ha! We haven’t been apple-picking yet this year…we’d better get on that!

    Reply

    Marty October 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Here in Miami the most exciting fruit we get to pick are strawberries, which I haven’t done in ages. I wish I could go pick apples, or any other fruits off trees like you did! So fresh and so cool to know you picked them yourself. Looks like a beautiful day!

    Reply

    Ami@dashofcurry.com October 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    I haven’t been apple-picking yet, but I live in Rhode Island, and that orchard sounds just perfect for a day trip! I think my husband and I are going to go there next weekend– thanks for telling us about it!

    Reply

    Kara October 9, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I love U-Picking! This year I have picked strawberries, plums, peaches, blueberries, raspberries and apples. I have also picked cherries in the past. It is so much fun – I am lucky Michigan offers such a great variety. :)

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    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers October 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I went Apple picking last weekend, up in Apple Hill, which is at the base of the Sierra mountains. We went for Macintosh, since you can rarely find them here. We also wanted Granny Smith but there not available until the first week of November. I saw them on the tree, but the farmer said there isn’t enough sugar in them yet, to tart! You don’t even know how bad I wanted to pick them.

    I look forward to seeing your apple recipes!!

    Reply

    Cynthia (It All Changes) October 9, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I’ve been apple picking once so far. I am going at least one more time so that I can make apple sauce, butter and other things to can. Last year I went several times so I’m a bit behind this year. :-)

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    Anna October 9, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I went apple picking for the first time last weekend with my brother and his family. It was a lot of fun! Fresh picked apples are so much better than from the store :)

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    Deva @ Deva by Definition October 9, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I have never been apple picking before, but i LOVE apples!

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    Hannah October 9, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Orchard fresh apples have ruined me for any other kind of apple, but I almost never get orchard apples… therefore I rarely eat apples. it’s a sad fact.

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    Laura October 9, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    It seems like everyone I know is picking apples… lucky!! so picturesque!

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    ChocolatePBCups October 9, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I haven’t been apple picking yet this year, but it’s one of my favorite fall things to do! and pumpkin picking too :)

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    Alison (peaches and football) October 10, 2011 at 7:21 am

    I made my second trip to our local orchard yesterday. My favorite apples are honeycrisp. Yum! Looks like it was the perfect day for picking too!

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    Tichina October 10, 2011 at 8:18 am

    What a beautiful place! Normally we would go berry picking, mainly raspberries and blueberries, but we haven’t had the opportunity this year. Mr. cosco has been doing all my berry picking ;)

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    Hope October 10, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I love going apple picking! I haven’t gone this year yet. I’m hoping to pick some apples soon. That place looks beautiful! :)

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    Erin @ Hungry Heart October 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Macouns are the best!

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    Cat @Breakfast to Bed October 10, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I picked a crapton of honeycrisp, but on another note, your arms look killer in that pic. Hawtness.

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    lauren October 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

    I haven’t been apple picking yet this year, but I picked strawberries in the summer. I always go a bit nuts with the picking so I can freeze some. There is nothing better than fresh fruit! That’s definitely one of the best things about living in New England, there are so many great farms within a short drive.

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    CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com/ October 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

    i have never been apple picking! but that looks like tons of fun! i am kind of boring and love good old apples with peanut butter the best, especially when they are Jazz or honey crisp varieties! yum!!!!

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    Traci B October 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Right before I read your post I was reading an article in a health newsletter I get about how apple picking can burn 300 calories. I’ve never been but it looks like a great way to spend a beautiful day. I need to see if we have any orchards in our area.

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    Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled October 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I’ve never been apple or any other fruit picking but that is something I definitely want to do with my stepson. It’d be fun to pick a bunch of something and then make something with it.

    What a gorgeous day there! Perfect for apple picking.

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    Meghan@themeghamix October 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    That sounds so fun! Now you’ve got me wanting to go!

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    Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) October 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    That looks like a blast! Love fresh picked fruit!

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    Emily@SavoryandSavage October 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I have never been apple picking but I did go to Bolton Orchards when I was in Massachusetts – I do have to say that MA has the best apples – the apples on the west coast are all pretty tasteless(((

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    Jen@foodfamilyfitness October 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    The best part about Fall is apple picking! You just inspired me to take my 3 year old this week and pick some apples of our own :)

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    Roz@weightingfor50 October 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I have never gone apple picking. Berry picking, every summer but never apples. It is pouring with rain here, and is supposed to all week, but if it brightens up next weekend, I think I’m going to go on a mission to the orchards outside of the city. Hope you have a great week Tina.

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    L higgin October 10, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I love Newport RI My husband was stationed on the naval base there! go here http://www.newportvineyards.com/

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    Shaun @ snackasaurusrex October 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    So jealous…no apple pickin’ in S. Texas :(

    Reply

    Pure2raw twins October 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    how fun! we have not gone picking of anything this year. we admit we are not very good at remembering to it each year! one year though we will go because it always looks like so much fun!

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    Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles October 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I love apple season so much! It looks like you had an amazing time apple picking! :)

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    Cecilia @ I heart me October 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I looove strawberry picking.. I went a couple of years ago near the Birkshires and OMG they were so sweet, they were like candy!! I’ve been meaning to go here in Texas, but I haven’t had chance.. maybe in the spring :)

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    Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life October 11, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I went blueberry picking back in July and it was so much fun! I had no idea you could pick your own blueberries in MA!

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    Angela @ The Chicken Scoop October 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I love apple picking! That is a great method they had going on and how cool they had so many varieties! I went once to a huge orchard in central New York. They were so big, they just drove you out on hay rides to the orchards that were ripe. You had like 2-3 choices in the one area but it was just rows and rows of all the same kind of apple. This orchard sounds so much more fun (and quaint? small in a good way?). Enjoy your apples!!
    ~Ang

    Reply

    Kathy W. October 15, 2011 at 3:40 am

    fyi, pears don’t ripen on the tree, they just become dry and mealy. When they’re mature (fully grown, not ripe), you pick them & then need to refrigerate for a few days (Bartletts) or 2-8 weeks (winter pears like D’Anjou, Bosc, etc.). The cooling part is necessary for ripening. After they’ve been cooled for the right amount of time, take as many out as you want to ripen. Put in a paper bag or covered bowl for 4-10 days at room temp. You can speed up the process by putting a ripe banana in with the pears.

    Pears you buy at the store have already been “pre-cooled;” all that’s necessary is the ripening at room temperature. To check whether a pear is ripe, press gently on the bulge under the stem. It should give a little.

    Hope this helps!

    Reply

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