My sisters and I used to go apple picking with my parents when we were little kids. Of course, I have no recollection of where we went or if we even ate the apples we picked afterwards. After doing a bit of research online, we decided we would go to Chudleigh's Farm. They had a pretty good variety of apples available for picking and would still be open when we returned from Hawaii. Perfect!
We drove to Halton Hills with Gaby and Adam on the Sunday after we returned from Hawaii. We made plans to meet up bright and early to avoid any potential crowds. Within minutes of us arriving and parking the car, the parking area behind us rapidly filled up. Since this was our first visit to the farm, we were a little unsure of how to proceed. We referred to a few posted signs just inside the entrance and spoke to a lady behind a counter who was waiting for slices of apple samples to arrive. We were told that we needed to wait for the hay wagon to get into the orchard. So we did. As it turns out, waiting for the wagon was entirely optional. We should have just walked into the orchard and then followed the signs posted inside the orchard. Rows of trees that were ready for picking were marked with orange pylons and signs that told us what apple variety was represented. The wagon would stop only at the rows with orange pylons. Well, we could do the same thing with our feet!
About a dozen different varieties were available for picking and several more were available for sale (already picked and bagged) at their general store. The variety that we were most interested in was Ambrosia, Matt's favourite eating apple. Ambrosia and Creston apples were priced at $2.00/lb while all the others were $1.25/lb. It comes as no surpise that Matt likes fancy apples.
We could see the signs for Ambrosia apples from where we were standing around, waiting for the wagon. What the heck. We just walked over to the marked rows and started picking apples and stuffing them into the designated bags. There were numerous apples lying on the ground around the base of the trees. Many of them were damaged in some way, but some of them had simply fallen off the the trees because they were too heavy. Through the course of the morning, we worked our way through the rows of Ambrosia onto Fuji, then Mutsu, and finally Creston. We caught a quick ride on the wagon from one part of the orchard to another when we saw that some of the distances were a little further than we thought. Otherwise, we spent the majority of the time walking amongst the rows of trees.
The apple trees were quite different than the ones I remembered from my childhood. Most of the trees in the rows were young trees grafted onto older stumps. The trees I picked from as a child were mature adult trees. Of course, there were also far fewer available varieties at that time. We finished up our visit to the farm with a visit to their general store. Gaby had planned to make an apple pie when she got home. Adam ruined her plans by picking up a ready-to-eat Chudleigh's apple pie. Oops.
We returned to Toronto and had a hearty lunch at WVRST. After lunch, we all agreed that we would compare notes later to see what we had done with our apples. I haven't heard from them yet, but I can safely say that the Ambrosia apple pancakes that Matt made for dinner that night were delicious. =)