...is through an apple orchard on a crisp fall day. There was finally a chill in the air today--cool enough to allow me to flirt heavily with the idea of donning a long-sleeved cardigan and shimmying up some trees in search of the perfect apple.
A friend also had the day free from work, so he and I headed off to the orchard. The Eau Claire Orchard is closest to us, offers the most kitsch (think...apple slinging, corn maze) and allows you to pick your own straight from the tree. Naturally it was our orchard of choice. As we pulled up, a cheery sign greeted us, "Pick your own Honeycrisp apples!". Love Honeycrisp, love picking my own. Love life.
But, oh, how quickly the tables turned when we stepped inside the barn and up to the counter to pay for the peck we were hoping to pick. It went a little something...like this:
Me: Hi, there...how are you?
Employee: Good. Are you ready to check out?
Me: We're actually looking to pick our own, today.
Employee: Umm...yeah.Me: Hmm? Is that okay?Employee: (Exasperated sigh.) Everyone always comes in wanting to pick their own. It's like--I have a whole store here of perfectly picked apples. And then they whine and complain that there's nothing out on the trees, cause they only want to walk about two rows in. It's like, no. Everything's picked over because it was just the weekend. Come back on Saturday...(Tirade continues.)
Me: (Meekly shrinking away from the counter.) We'll...go somewhere else...
I moved quickly for the door, all the while trying desperately not to meet my pal's glances for fear that I would come unglued and LOSE IT right there in that seemingly sweet little autumnal barn.
The two of us...barely made it out alive. The second we burst through the doors, he and I ERUPTED with giggles, impressions and what-we-should-have-said-isms. His response was by far my favorite: "Hmm. Didn't know life on the apple orchard could be so darn tough..."
We spent the next two hours driving through the back hills, stopping so I could snap photos of picturesque pastures and popping in to various orchards to see if they allowed self-pick...to no absolutely avail. A friendly woman turned us on to a little orchard called Nibbletts (Nibbletts. For real. And yes...I giggled at that, too.) where pick-your-own is the only way, but unfortunately they were closed for the day.
Regardless, it was a wonderful day that will not soon be forgotten...but I can't help but feel slightly disappointed at the day's lack of apple picking. Is picking your own apples really that taboo? I have so many memories of trips to the orchard as a child, but is it becoming a thing of the past...something my (very, very future) children will never, ever believe we paid to do?