Last Sunday, before driving back to Seattle, we spent the afternoon picking apples at the most lovely Bellewood Acres. It was a beautiful fall day that produced a chill with the breeze yet warmth with the sun. A long tractor train carried us eager pickers out into the apple orchard past the pumpkin patches and cows and horses grazing in their fields.
There were rows upon rows of apple trees all bearing beautiful red fruit yet due to the ripening calendar, we were limited in picking only the Tsugaru variety, which the farm describes as "a gourmet dessert apple rated among the best eating apples of Japanese heritage". I might have to say that they rate among the best eating apples EVER. Crunchy, juicy (the juice pops into your face when you cut or bite into it!), and candy sweet. They are so very good that I thought the 10 pounds we picked would be more than enough, but I personally am eating 2 or 3 per day! I had to set aside the necessary 8 that are required for a Dutch oven apple crisp we will be making over the campfire with friends this weekend!
I am learning quickly, being in the land of apples aplenty, that there is nothing better than the first taste of Autumn's apple. Choosing the perfect one from the tree, biting into its skin to reveal a flesh that is gleaming white, and savoring the taste while the juice splashes around my tongue. The first taste of the season's apple may be almost as paramount as a first kiss...it's good. Really good.
We left the orchard not only with apples, but also with peanut butter made right on the farm. I have found the pairing of homemade peanut butter and a fresh, sweet Tsugaru apple to be perfectly divine. As our supply quickly dwindles, I know I will be calling upon our wonderful CSA to replenish our cravings and, perhaps, trying to squeeze another apple picking outing into one of our already busy fall weekends. At the very least, a trip to Bellewood Acres will become an annual fall tradition!