I moved to Vermont seven years ago and, shortly after, I visited an apple orchard for the first time since high school. My husband Jon’s sister Jen and her husband, Brian, were visiting from Connecticut. It was fall and we wanted to do something “Vermont-y” with them. We picked up some wine and cheese, packed a big blanket and drove to Shelburne Orchards, overlooking Lake Champlain. We spent a good half hour picking apples, then settled down to enjoy a lunch of wine, apples and cheese. Jon and I had such a great time that we vowed to do it again the next year. We did—and have every fall since.
Jon and I have a little boy now. When we went picking last year, Julian was only 4 months old. He seemed fascinated by the colorful orbs suspended from the branches, but I can’t say that the experience for him was enchanting—yet. I am eager to see Julian toddling around the orchard this fall, plopping apples into bins. I’m excited to give him tastes of my mom’s apple crisp—a recipe passed down from her mother, my Grandma Mary. In a few years, will Julian have a little brother or sister to go picking with, and will they conspire together to find the best apples? Will he let me teach him how to roll crust for a homemade pie?
Nearly 30 years ago, I picked Idareds with my mom and dad and Angelo. Thirty years from now, Julian may have children of his own and take them picking. Time moves fast. That age-old epiphany can make you nostalgic, even sad. Or it can help you to appreciate how the simple things in life—like picking apples with your family—really do shape your world.
Nicci Micco is EatingWell’s deputy editor of nutrition and features. Since her sister, Kate, was too young to pick apples during the family visits to White House Fruit Farm, Nicci looks forward to taking her apple picking when she visits Vermont this fall.
Find a U-pick apple farm in your community at pickyourown.org.