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.
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!
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.
Maybe tons of orchards have this same system, but Mal and I thought it was genius.
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.
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.
Have you been apple picking this year? What other kinds of fruit have you picked?