This is the second year that we have leased an apple tree for Liberty View Farm, and I think it was one of the best things we have done in on our quest to support our local farms and farmers. Liberty View Farm is simply wonderful – their gardens beds are works of art and this time we got to meet their pigs and listen to the goats bleating – Stella loved it all. We were welcomed by Billiam and George their dog. George was running through the orchard and enjoying many an apple and this only weeks after he had one of his back legs amputated. Billiam and Rene are wonderful people and make you feel so welcomed and take the time to talk with you and share their life – reminds me of simpler times, when people took pleasure in the company of others and slowing down learn about one another.
Last year we leased one tree, but this year thanks to a wonderful birthday present we have two leased trees, one Rome and one Cortland. Last year I made apple sauce, apple butter and apple chips and did all the peeling by hand – and one tree almost got us through the whole winter and spring and I even gave away jars of apple sauce and apple butter. This year with 2 trees I am going to have to clear more shelf space or finish converting the basement into a root cellar. I have already had people ask me when I am going to have a fresh batch of apple sauce and apple butter, with two trees I will be able to share the goodness and love with even more people.
After the first soccer practice of the season we drove the 1 1/2 hours north to Highland, NY to spend the day picking and enjoying the views and fresh, crisp air. There was not as much mud as I thought there would be since the orchard had been flooded thanks to Irene and the torrential rains after she passed through. We walked through the orchard with Billiam as he looked for the perfect tree for us to pick – and then he found it. As is tradition, Billiam takes a picture of the apple pickers jumping up in the air, yelling apples – and we were more than happy to comply!
The tree this year had so many apples on lower branches that Stella was able to assist more in the picking – she tends to pick one apple show it to me, place it in the bag and then go back for another one – or she just talks to me, stands still as the bees land on her, waiting for it to depart – I have to say she makes it even more enjoyable! It took us about 2 hours to pick the whole tree and I have no idea how many apples we ended up with – we did fill 4 reusable grocery bags along with an apple picking bag.
We loaded up our apples into the car and then went and visited a little while longer with Billiam and then it was back into the car and home. The work of preserving, I am sure will take me several days! And of course we will be back in October to pick our other tree – I can’t wait!
I can not recommend enough to get involved in your community and support your local farms and farmers. It is great for the community, both in building relationships, healthy eating and the always present financial perks – to both you and the farm. If you live in the Hudson Valley I would encourage you to lease an apple tree or two from Liberty View Farm http://www.libertyviewfarm.biz/ and if you don’t check to see if a farm near you offers leases. If you have kids – make a day of it – they will love it! As you have probably already predicted – the posts for the remainder of the week, will most likely all have an apple theme to them – I can smell the apple butter cooking now and it is divine!