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When I was substitute teaching in art class the other day, the second grade teacher walked by with a large pan.

"Would you like some apple crisp?" she asked. 

It looked delicious so I agreed it would be great for my lunch dessert.   

"Did your class go apple picking?" I asked. 

She explained that several of the primary classes took a field trip to a nearby orchard and picked apples.  Then the youngsters in her class learned how to make apple crisp. 

This is apple picking time of year for families and school students.  If you don't have time to pick your own, you'll find fresh apples in stores and at farm stands.


An apple orchard ready for harvest
Apples Near and Far 

If you live where apples are grown and picked in the fall, you might travel to nearby orchards and farm stands, where you can pick and purchase apples for your own use.  This can be an exciting outing as it was for the school children I work with. 

Take your children for a family outing.  Find an orchard where you can experience the fun of picking your own apples.  Often these orchards have farm stands where you can purchase other fruits and vegetables.  They also may have snack stands where you can sample tasty goodies. 

We took my mother-in-law on an autumn drive in apple growing  areas around her home.  She enjoyed the ride through the colorful countryside, stopping at the farm stand to purchase apples she could use for applesauce and apple pie.  Then we topped off the outing with a meal at her favorite restaurant. 

Apples During Your Travels 

My husband and I live in New England, but we have enjoyed the sights of apples growing in other parts of the country as we travel in autumn.  Throughout New York State, in western Colorado, in Washington and Oregon we've found fresh apples while meandering through these areas. 

Nowadays you can check online to find places in your travels where apples are grown.  State chambers of commerce sites often  let you know if apple picking is an activity there. 

Apples of Childhood 

Apple picking was part of my childhood on the farm.  Even though Father was a dairy farmer, he had a desire for growing apples and eventually developed an orchard with 500 trees.  This meant many autumn hours for our family on the hilltop orchard picking this fruit after school and on weekends. 

I particularly remember the view from this orchard that faced the west.  On clear days, we could see the Catskill Mountains beyond the Hudson River of New York State.  Here Father grew McIntosh apples, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Cortlands and Baldwins.  No matter where I obtain apples, they never seem  as tasty as the ones grown on our farm. 

A few varieties of apples
Apple History 

Apples have been around for 20 centuries.  Even then man had knowledge of the "art of budding and grafting" fruit trees.  Apples grew in China, Egypt and Europe. 

Some of the old varieties I recall from childhood, or remember my parents mentioning from theirs, were Baldwins, Johathans, Gravensteins, Pippins, Greenings, Northern Spy, and Spitzenburg.  My grandparents had several apple trees on their farm (for their own use, not to sell commercially as Father did) and they consisted of the "old time" varieties. 

The lore of apples and apple picking provide interesting stories.  Also, look up the story of Johnny Appleseed and follow his course across the country as you travel. 

(c)2104Mary Emma Allen 

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her NH home and during her travels.  She also writes books for children and is celebrating her 50th year as a culinary and travel writer.  E-mail:


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