What a wonderful time we had at Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, Massachusetts this past Saturday! I'm trying to embrace New England life and the fall season as much as I possibly can, and one of the first things that came to my mind (after fall foliage of course) was apple picking. Now I realize that there are plenty of places all over the country where people can go pick apples, but for some reason, it is in my head as a New England activity.
It was an absolutely perfect fall day: low 60's, windy, near clear blue skies. Enough of a bite in the air for you to still be comfortable but know that it is indeed fall. Many other people had the same idea as us, but the farm store and apple orchards did not feel crowded at all.
We got right down to business... and by that I mean we ate hot dogs and apple cider doughnuts. The reason I chose Cider Hill from the many "pick your own" farms in the area was because someone reviewed it saying that they have the best apple cider doughnuts in the world. I was sold. The doughnuts were amazing. They reminded me of Disneyland churros except fresher and greasier. I couldn't really taste the apple cider in them, but maybe that's because I ate two in a matter of minutes. I also liked that you can watch the guy making the doughnuts in the bakery.
Next we got our bags, with a map conveniently printed right on it, and a list of apple descriptions and set out for the orchards. Here I am with my first apple. I think it was a honeycrisp, but then again we picked so many that I have no idea.
We ended up with 10 different varieties: Honeycrisp, Newtown-Pippin, Red Delicious, Rome, Golden Delicious, Northern Spy, Mutsu, Cortland, Arkansas Black, and (my favorite so far) Kidd's Gala.
They have a sign about sampling when you first enter the orchard area. It basically says we know you'll want to taste, but keep it to a minimum. Brett and I felt a little strange about tasting something, after all you wouldn't eat an apple at a grocery store, but toward the end of our time there we decided to share a Kidd's Gala. When I picked it the skin was a little sticky and its coloring looked like a perfect peach. When I took a bite, it was sweet and juicy, but slightly crisp. It was wonderful! I promptly picked two more to put in my bag for later.
After apple picking, we picked out two pumpkins, a jug of cider, and some fresh honey. Here is our bounty from the farm.
We've already baked with one of our apples; I'll post about that soon.