Apple Picking + Pumpkin Patching
Last weekend, we traveled down to Fruitland (I kid you not, that's the actual name) to visit Justus Orchard. Seeing as visiting the local apple orchard made my list of top ten ways to get your Asheville fall on, it was time to make the trip. We couldn't have asked for better weather or a more beautiful drive. Rolling hills, gorgeous fiery trees lining windy roads...it felt like we were in a car commercial.
Once we got there, we took a minute to take in the amazing views and get the lay of the land. Rows upon rows of apple trees blanketed every inch of land as far as we could see, proffering the Pink Lady, Mutsu, Jonagold, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious goodies we were there to enjoy.
Time to be honest. Yes, we were there for the apples and the apple picking. But we were really, really excited about the on-site Apple House Bakery. Apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, fried apple pie, caramel apples, apple cider slushies, whole apple pies...mother of mercy! I was seriously tempted to dust off my maternity jeans and get down to business. Fortunately I was able to reign it in and whittle my order down to cold apple cider and a doughnut. I savored every bite and sip!
In our household, Sunday is diet cheat day, a treat we extended to Harlow in honor of her ten month birthday (*sniff*). She's much too young to eat a sugary doughnut, so we offered her ONE bite and boy did she make it count! Mike was able to capture her big moment on camera -- girl likes to eat, just like her mama!
While we're on the subject, the food lover in me could not resist the shelves lined with jams, jellies, and syrups. Immediately I started dreaming of biscuits and pancakes dripping in blackberry jam or pumpkin spice syrup. Pumpkin. Spice. Syrup. Starbucks, you've been served.
After our round one snack, we went to the Kids Zone to have some fun with Harlow. On our way to the hay ride, we couldn't resist the photo op in the apple cut-out. Then, we had to go meet the horses, George and Roy. I surprised myself by going straight into Mama Bear mode, ready to pounce should ol' Roy go rogue on my baby and me! Where did that come from?! By the time we reached the goats, thankfully I had chilled out.
Oh my gosh, this goat. The cutest! And his (or her) name was Leggs! Whenever I fed Leggs it just felt like a light tickle on my hand. What a babe!
Given the beautiful day and the picturesque scenery, we took a moment to just relax and soak in a little Vitamin E before we ventured into the orchard. It felt like we were living in one of Harlow's children's books, talking about the ducks on the pond, the fish, the windmill, and other sweet notables from our surroundings. I may or may not have sung a few bars of Old McDonald. E-I-E-I-O!
Finally, we got to the picking and patching we came for! I'd never been to a bonafide orchard before, so it took us awhile to get the lay of the land and decide which varietals we wanted most (remember: you pick it, you buy it!). Some of them I'd never heard of before our trip to Justus Orchard, like Mutsu or Arkansas Black, so we kept to tried-and-true faves like Pink Lady, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious.
But wait -- what about the pumpkins? I was kind of sad to learn there wasn't a true pumpkin patch to pick from, but we did find a few for Harlow to crawl around on and she LOVED them! Well, she loved the leaves and hay needles she found on the ground around them the most, but still.
We'd spent so much time and had so much fun during our trip that we had lunch at the BBQ food truck before we left. If you're there, I highly recommend the Brunswick Stew and I'm not a stew kind of girl. It was the perfect hot meal on a cool fall day!
When we finally headed back home, we drove the back roads while Harlow napped to enjoy a leisurely Sunday drive. Our route took us from Fruitland, through the town of Good Luck, back to Asheville through stunning countryside. If you're going to make the trip, go that way on at least one leg of the trip, it's totally worth it!
We hope to make our trip to Justus Orchard an annual tradition, anticipating each year all the new things Harlow will be able to do on her own, from the jumping pillow, to the hay ride, to the cow train. And, of course, picking apples and eating doughnuts.
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