This was our apple picking, chestnut gathering, pie cooking, potluck extravaganza. I had been worried that the apples at the abandoned orchard in Long Ridge Open Space Preserve either wouldn't be ripe or would have all fallen. I fretted over whether we'd be able to find the old chestnut farm grove or find any chestnuts there. I perseverated about my lack of dessert skills. But all was well and the day worked out better than any of had a right to expect. The weather had a wonderful fall briskness as we tromped about in the apple orchard. Not only were the apples ripe and abundant, but we had several varieties to pick from. We found the chestnut grove without difficulty and my newly acquired fruit picker[2] proved useful yet again in pulling nuts from the branches.

Then the fun began!

We got back to my house at 2pm and by 3pm, after a quick inventory and trip to the store for ingredients, we were fully engulfing in a flurry of pie making and preparations for dinner. Our dinner menu consisted of balsamic glazed pork loin chops, braised red cabbage with apples and cider vinegar, wild rice, baked acorn squash basted with my own special honey-ginger sauce, and a fresh green salad. This was followed by two different home made apple pies from Melenie and Sara with vanilla ice cream and 20 year old tawny port. We finished the entire affair by roasting the chestnuts over the barbeque and all of us were surprised at how good they were.

A very fine fall harvest day indeed! We unfortunately didn't get many of the dinner because of all the chaos, but Tracy did capture a picture of the pies and acorn squash in the oven.

[2] A fruit picker: an open wire basket on the end of a long, telescoping pole. You extend the pole out to its full 16 foot length and then hook the wire basket under the fruit and pull. The fruit falls into the wire basket and you lower that to the ground. Yet another piece of equipment I never thought I would own ... at least not while still being a city resident!

Casey

Fall Harvest Gathering (apples and chestnuts) Nov 2003
Click on the pictures to see a larger version, mostly 640x480, mostly around 100KB in size

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