Posts Tagged ‘apple picking’

Virginia Grown: Apple Picking at Stribling Orchards

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

#foodietotsapplefest

We were recently in a small market in our neighborhood picking up one or two things, when the boy picked up a shiny red apple and tossed it in the basket. I admit I felt more than a little silly telling him to put it back — but we had a bag full of fresh, local apples at home. The last time we were in the same market, I let the kids buy two of the waxy, Grown in Washington labeled apples, only to have them take a few bites and toss the rest. My kids are apple junkies, but there’s no time like fall in Virginia to appreciate the difference between supermarket fruit and fresh, local varieties. There are a number of orchards within an hour or so drive from Washington, DC, but we tend to return to Stribling Orchard just off I-66 in Markham, Va.

picking apples at stribling orchard

Stribling has a couple perks that make it the ideal apple picking destination for the 5-and-under crowd:

  • You can pick up bags, but then drive into the area of the orchard where you want to pick.
  • Sticks. Sure, the small trees have plenty of fruit within easy grabbing reach, but these cool picking sticks can be used to reach the primo fruit up high. If you have boys, you know what a powerful draw this is!
  • Bathrooms. Actual running water bathrooms — for the essential hand washing before picnicking.
  • Food. On the weekends they set up a grill offering burgers and hot dogs, and sometimes full barbecue (ribs, chicken and pulled pork). There’s also the bakery and store where you can find fresh baked cider doughnuts, pies and preserves.

apple picking sticks at stribling

Of course, it can also be quite crowded on the weekends so try to arrive early and be prepared for lines at check out and those bathrooms. Here are a couple tips gleaned from our annual apple-picking adventures.

Tips for a Happy Apple-Picking Outing:

1. Hats and sunscreen are essential. Stribling, and many other local orchards, are on top of hills which offer gorgeous views — and full sunshine.

2. Wear shoes you don’t mind getting mucky and put kids in long pants. There’s a lot of spoiling fruit on the ground and the kids will be traipsing through tall grass and other brambly undergrowth.

3. Try to find the variety you most want first. Once kids get on a roll picking, there’s no slowing them down and they may fill their bag at the first tree.

favorite find at stribling orchard farm store

apple by nikki mcclureGIVEAWAY: So you’ve gone apple picking and now you’re wondering what to do with all those apples? I’ve started an Apple Fest board over on Pinterest. Pin your favorite apple recipe, then share a link in the comments here so I can repin it to the board — or tag your pin #foodietotsapplefest & I’ll find it!

Every apple recipe posted below or tagged on Pinterest will give you one chance to win a copy of the gorgeous book Apple by Nikki McClure. You can “like” FoodieTots on Facebook and leave an additional comment below for an extra entry (or note if you’re already a fan). Contest is open to US residents only and will close at 11:59pm Eastern on September 30. Good luck, and happy apple eating!

blue skies at stribling orchard

Kids Cook Book Soup: Apples!

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I hope you haven’t had your fill of apple recipes just yet, because we have several more to share for the very first round-up of Kids Cook Book Soup. Thanks to all for sharing your apple inspiration, and please read to the end for the November theme announcement! With no further ado…

From Jen at The Gould House, “Eldress Bertha’s Applesauce”

kcbs-1-applesauce

Jen and her 2-year-old daughter, Ella, used apples from their farmers market to make this applesauce. Jen writes, “Ella enjoyed counting the apples, catching the apple peels as they fell into the bowl, and mashing the apples after they were done simmering on the stove.  She also ate her first whole apple while I was doing the chopping.  The applesauce was delicious and it made the house smell so “autumny”—definitely a keeper!”

From Melissa at Little Locavores, Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash — with Apples

kcbs1-3-applesquash

Melissa created this fall recipe with the thought of appealing to those who don’t like squash unless it’s doused in sugar. I don’t know if it won her farmer’s sons over, but this flavorful dish has extra kid-appeal when served in an acorn squash bowl. (Melissa and her son recently went apple-picking at Seedling Orchards in South Haven, Michigan.)

From Kelsey at The Naptime Chef, Spiced Apple Cookies

kcbs1-2-cookies

Kelsey and her toddler daughter made these scrumptious cookies, with New York McIntosh apples, to occupy a rainy afternoon — just one of many recipes in her “Apple Mania” arsenal.

And here at FoodieTots, Spiced Apple Hand Pies

kcbs1-4-handpies

We picked apples at Virginia’s Crooked Run Orchard, reviewed How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World, and baked kid-sized apple hand pies. Yum!

~

And if these aren’t enough ideas to use up the apples in your crisper, here are a few more kid-friendly apple recipes:

Kids Cook: How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

This is our entry for Kids Cook Book Soup — Apples! Check back later today for the full round-up.

The Story: This lovely book, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, by Marjorie Priceman, caught my eye at the bookstore with its colorful illustrations. In it, a little girl sets out to make an apple pie but discovers her local market is closed. So naturally, she charts a course around the world to pick wheat in Italy, sugar cane in Jamaica, and apples in Vermont. I admit, on one level my locavore’s conscious felt a pang of guilt, but it was too cute a story not to buy. Besides, the point of eating local, for me, is to ensure my son knows where his food comes from. Even if it’s not always somewhere nearby.howtomakeanappliepie

The Lesson: My son knows apples grow on trees, and milk comes from cows. This may seem obvious, but it’s not always! My brother went through a phase as a kid where he insisted that milk came from the grocery store. No amount of arguing could convince him it came from a cow. (This was probably just stubbornness, we certainly were exposed to cows.) Anyway, last week I picked up the boy from daycare and headed out to do errands, and I had failed to pack snacks. I asked if he wanted to go to the drive-thru for apple slices, and he replied, “We could go to the farm and get apples!” In an ideal world, yes, but convenience won out this time.

The Recipe: I recently went to Williams-Sonoma looking for yeast. They didn’t have it, but of course I managed to come home with a bag full of new must-have kitchen tools, including these adorable apple and pumpkin pocket pie molds. The boy saw the one I was packing in my niece’s birthday present, and started to whine, “But I don’t have one of those yet!” So he was pleasantly surprised when I pulled out a second one for him. I decided to stick with the recipe on the box for the pie crusts, which I was glad to see called for butter. I halved the recipe to make 4 little pies. This really doesn’t take too much more effort than making a full-size pie, and the results are just too cute.

Spiced Apple Hand Pies
crust recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 6 to 8 Tbs. ice water
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • maple sugar

Pulse flour, salt and sugar in food processor to combine. Add butter chunks, and pulse until it resembles a course meal. Add water, a little at a time, pulsing between each addition until dough begins to come together. I only needed 6 tablespoons. Remove and press into flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. (Or, if you’re in a hurry, 30 minutes in the freezer.)

Filling:

  • 1 apple, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch salt

Combine all ingredients and set aside while dough is chilling.

To Assemble Pies: Prepare egg wash. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness and use the mold to cut out 8 shapes. If you don’t have the molds, use a large cookie cutter to cut shapes. Cut a leaf-shaped vent into the top crust pieces. Place the bottom in the mold (or on your parchment-lined baking sheet) and place 2 tablespoons of apple filling in the center. Brush a little egg wash around the edge, lay a second piece of dough over and gently press in the mold or together with a fork. Brush the top with more egg wash and sprinkle with maple sugar. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat to make the remaining pies. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 22-24 minutes, until crust is golden. Cool on a cooling rack at least 10 minutes before eating. Makes 4 small pies. Enjoy!

Note: I skipped the second freezing step, as we were in a hurry to finish before bedtime, so my crusts browned more quickly than they should have. But they tasted great! Oh, and despite the book’s instructions, our apples and eggs came from local farms.

At Market: Puffy Sweet Corn Pancake

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Fall may be my favorite season, but that doesn’t mean I don’t hoard the summer produce just as long as possible. Sweet summer corn in particular, and this year my favorite has been the white corn from Three Way Farm at the Del Ray Farmers Market.

Pancakes and kids are pretty much a sure thing, and the boy was eager to help me whisk together this quick and easy batter. It’s adapted from a classic puffy apple pancake recipe that I’ve always enjoyed, turned savory to serve as a side dish to our first maple-glazed pork chops and apples of the fall. (Oh yes, we went apple picking recently too, at the ecoganic-ish Crooked Run Orchard in Purcellville, Va. … they spray their apples (I’m unaware of any u-pick orchards in the region that don’t) but have a lengthy explanation of their practices on their website.) Anyway, corn and apples makes the perfect crossover pairing to mark the autumnal equinox, I’d say.

puffy sweet corn pancake

RECIPE: Puffy Sweet Corn Pancake
Adapted from Betty Crocker Puffy Oven Pancake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup corn kernels (from 2 ears of corn)
  • 1 small yellow onion or spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/8 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • fresh parsley to garnish

Instructions: Place butter in 9-inch pie pan and allow to melt while preheating oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, corn meal and salt in one bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and whisk in the milk. Add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined, then fold in corn and onion. Remove the pie pan from the oven and brush the butter around the pan, including the sides. Pour batter into pan and return to oven. Bake 25-30 minutes, until puffy and lightly browned. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen the pancake. Place a large dinner plate over the pan and flip quickly. Garnish with parsley and enjoy! Makes 6 servings.

Note: If you’re in the area, Crooked Run will be making apple butter on the farm this weekend, Sept. 19 and 20. Elsewhere, visit pickyourown.org to locate an apple orchard near you. And if you have any favorite apple recipes, please share!

Farms of Origin:

  • corn, Three Way Farm (VA)
  • corn meal, Wye Mill (MD)
  • milk & butter, South Mountain Creamery (MD)
  • parsley & onions, Potomac Vegetable Farms CSA (VA)
  • pork chops, Smith Meadows (VA)
  • apples, Crooked Run Orchard (VA)

Shared with Real Food Wednesday — visit for round-up at Cheeseslave for more real food recipes and inspiration!