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While hiding out from Irma, Andy and I had the opportunity to get a jump on fall activities and go apple picking with my mom. While there are literally dozens of orchards within a hour’s drive of her house, we ended up at Mercier Orchard, a wonderful place that we have been visiting for years now. Usually, we are just there for lunch and to load up on baked goods since we’ve never been in town during apple picking season.
Now there wasn’t hay involved, but we did load into a wagon pulled by a tractor to get out into the permium apple picking are of the orchard. The guide hanging onto the back of the wagon told us that they grow 53 different varieties of apples on the property, along with other fruits throughout the year.
I have a sneaking suspicion that our trip was as much for my mom as it was for us. I’d jokingly mentioned apple picking in passing and she latched on to the idea and made. it. happen.
We picked either 6 or 8 of the varieties currently available, and I wish I could tell you their names, but they all sort of looked the same in the bag. The only ones I remember for sure are Red Delicious, Candy Crisp & Macintosh. Andy heard the name Candy Crisp, and he was back and forth checking every single row until he tracked those babies down.
I was also surprised how athletically my mom hiked around. Not that she doesn’t walk every morning, but damn, you should have seen that woman practically sprinting when she spotted some especially vibrant purple-y red apples.
We ended up with almost an entire bushel of apples. I thought my mom/extended family would want some, but they decided we should take them all back to Florida. It filled the entire bottom drawer of the fridge.
I’ve managed to use about a 1/4, but I am thinking I am going to have to up my baking game to get through everything while it’s still at peak freshness. Andy has valiantly offered to eat as many cinnamon apples as I care to make. He’s a giver like that.
Alas, this weekend was not a three day weekend for me, but I did get to spend plenty of time with some of my favorite people, so it was still a pretty great weekend. Since we only had Ben and Karen here for two days, the bulk of our time was spent hanging out and visiting with my other brother in law and his wife at their place. We did manage to make it out for brunch both days and take a walk around Cascades Park located downtown.
Saturday morning we went to one of my all time favorite local spots, a vegan place called Sweet Pea Cafe. They had my favorite green tea sugar cookies and my new favorite cookie, red bean filled green tea sugar cookies. I wanted to get a few extra to go, but they were sold out. We actually made it up and out of the house pretty early on Sunday, so after grabbing breakfast at Canopy Road Cafe (another local favorite), we made our way to Cascade. The early hour meant we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Cascade has a cool kids area, so Karen and I spent some time squishing around barefoot in the sand. The boys decided to keep their shoes on, but they did join in when it came to playing with the old school water pump and jumping around on the play logs. Since the park is located downtown, one side runs up against the railroad tracks. We did get to see an empty freight train later on in our visit, but I forgot to take a picture, distracted by the elaborate tags is boasted. It may be illegal, but I think graffiti artists are doing them a favor by sprucing up the old cars. Even though we’d already had breakfast we decided to stop in at The Edison for a drink (and key lime pie). The restaurant is housed in an old building that used to be owned by the electric company, and the owners have given a playful nod to its origins when it comes to decor.
Like I said, it was a really great weekend and far too short. Hopefully we’ll all be seeing each other in Chicago later this year. It’ll be my first trip to the Windy City, and there is already a mile long list of all the places I want to see.
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