Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apples, apples everywhere

Say what you will about apple picking, I’m a die-hard. Its something we always did when I was a kid and now David and I take the kids every year. Part of the reason we're wedded to the tradition is that its one of the only organized, heart-warming Hallmarky-moment-type events that my parents agree to. We always went to Masker’s in Warwick when I was a kid, and that’s where we go still, though we did have one year, when Primo was a baby, where I insisted on trying to find a “better” place and we ended up in some tiny orchardwhich had been picked clean by mid-October. I am not exaggerating when I say that there was not ONE SINGLE apple left on the tree by the time we got there: since it was Primo’s first time picking, we decided to pick up apples off the ground and pretend they were hanging from the tree so he could have the satisfaction of grabbing one off the branch. A sad state of affairs. And no apple pie-making after, that’s for sure. So since that debacle, we head to the tried and true headquarters of picking and though it is admittedly a total freaking madhouse (almost reminiscent of a certain medieval festival, though with better parking), they always have apples.

My dad is an apple-picking nut. The activity allows him to activate his Macguyer instincts and every year, he sets about perfecting his technique. This usually starts the night before the pick with the re-designing of the mechanical picking arm. You know when you go apple picking and all the good apples are at the top of the tree and you think, damn, I wish I had a ladder or an extendable, mechanical arm? Well, my dad invents one every year and he’s getting closer and closer to a usable prototype. We always see a bunch of people whacking the upper branches with sticks, causing an avalanche of apples to fall to the ground, becoming bruised and ruine din the process. We laugh at these simpletons, now that we have the Turbo Arm. Behold:

Sure, I could tell you how to make one of your very own but how would that help you? I don’t want to just GIVE you the tools to catch the apples, I want to give you the tools to make the tools yourself.

This year, my grandmother joined us, for the first time since we were kids. She was a hilarious addition to the picking team, muttering the whole time about the epic waste of apples which had fallen or been tossed to the ground to rot. When we sampled apples to see if it was a good tree, she would eat the entire apple every time, being unable to take a few bites and discard the rest. Consequently, she felt pretty ill afterwards.

All said, a delightful trip to the orchard yielding some fruitful results. (You can take a moment to revel at my pun-ishness, go ahead.)