“How have you never gone apple-picking before?”
My coworkers ask me with wide eyes. I feel suspicious and spend the rest of my shift asking every coworker that crosses my path if they’ve gone apple-picking before. Lo and behold, their responses are all the same. Raised eyebrows, a twitch of a smile, and, “yes…of course…”
“Where do you get your apples from?” a woman asks me.
“I don’t know,” I say. “Trader Joe’s.”
So a few weeks later, my mom, my grandparents, and I venture to Honey Pot Hill Orchards to awaken our apple-picking skills. I come armed in a letterman jacket while my grandma and grandpa bundle up for the chilly, late-September air.
We patrol the orchard and collect the ripest McIntoshes, red deliciouses, and cortlands. The Large bag is 20 lbs and costs $28 but we carry back nearly three dozen apples.
Afterwards, as we warm up with coffee and apple-cider donuts, preschoolers buzz around the picnic tables, collecting quarters from their teachers so they can feed the goats, pigs, and sheep. I’m the oldest “kid” there, catching up on a childhood tradition that I missed out on. Mind you, I’m appreciating it just as much as the preschoolers are.
Afterwards, I peruse the gift shop, feeling bubbly at the sight of pumpkin butter and cinnamon candy apple butter.
I love autumn. I’m obsessed. I read a Buzzfeed article called, “18 Euphoric Experiences for People Who Absolutely Love Autumn,” and totally related to it. Lucky for me, New England is the best place to be for autumn-lovers. A former-St. Louis-now-Worcester resident that I met cleverly said how, “Massachusetts truly performs itself.” And it does that in more ways than visually.
Of course, I’m talking about food.
On a spicy-cool morning, my dad and I make the trip to Darby’s Bakery in West Boylston.
We come home with a box of pumpkin muffins, pumpkin-glazed scones, apple dumplings, morning glories, and English scones. (The latter is a nostalgic sight since I craved them all while living in England. They’re less sweeter, much breadier than American scones.)
To top it off, Dad and I enjoy a fresh brew of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Rooibos tea. Not a bad way to start the day, if you ask me.
Another one of my favorites from Trader Joe’s are these guys:
Okay, okay, I’ll stop obsessing. Happy Autumn, Massachusetts!
Rachel Noelle is a writer based in Worcester. Read about her here.