Posted by: Kath Usitalo | September 29, 2010

The Appeal Of Picking Apples

Sample some of Crane Orchard's 17 varieties of apples before you pick

As mentioned in Monday’s blog post, we’re into National Apple Month and there’s no better time to spend a quiet day in the country at an orchard, hand selecting bushel baskets full of your favorite apples for pies, sauce, and just eating out of hand.

Except a Sunday. There is no such thing as a quiet Sunday at a U-Pick farm during apple season.

Weighing the haul: That's a lot of applesauce

What is it about apples hanging heavy on branches that encourages hoards of people of all ages to call on their inner farm worker for a few hours, to trudge between rows of trees—up one aisle and down another— in search of perfect specimens to add to their bulging bags or bushel baskets?

I’ve been out picking apples with the family when the kids were young (and I guess TJ and I were younger, too). And there was one memorable outing with college chums. We baked pies afterward and drank a lot of cider.

I must admit, apple picking can be great fun.

Last Sunday I checked out Crane Orchards in Fennville, in Michigan’s Fruitbelt in the southwestern part of the Mitten. (It’s adjacent to the famed Crane’s Pie Pantry, Restaurant & Bakery.) I didn’t have time to pick, I was just observing.

The place was jumping, with families rolling kids into the orchards in Crane’s wagons, and other folks rolling their bushels of apples up to the large scales for weighing and pricing.

One couple’s haul cost $130.00, and they were caught a bit by surprise because they had to scrape up the cash (Crane Orchards takes no credit cards).

The woman who picked these apples said, "My friends in West Virginia look forward to my Michigan apples every year."

Check out the U-Pick opportunities in the Michigan Farm Market & Agri-Tourism guide, and get inspired by the Pure Michigan TV ad “Fresh.”

Just know that while you’re in the orchard you will not hear that famous Pure Michigan advertising theme song, hear Tim Allen’s voice, or see kids picking apples in slow motion.

Unless you’ve had some of that cider that we college kids enjoyed when we went apple picking (hey, we were of legal age). Or maybe some of the hard cider that’s gaining popularity in Michigan. But that’s a story for another day.

Visitor Info Clicks: Saugatuck/Douglas area

Crane Orchards

Travel Michigan: Pure Michigan

Guide to Farm Markets and U-Picks

Remember to enter the Michigan Apple Committee contest for a stay at one of the Boyne resorts!

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