“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.

apple-picking

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.

pumpkin-butter
Autumn is here!  @Honeypothill

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.)

muffin

muffin2

muffin3

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.

rooibos

Another one of my favorites from Trader Joe’s are these guys:

cs9ns3qxgaapboh

Okay, okay, I’ll stop obsessing.  Happy Autumn, Massachusetts!

ladder

 

Rachel Noelle is a writer based in Worcester.  Read about her here.

2 thoughts on “Autumn Madness in Massachusetts

  1. On the topic of apple picking … you must of course read the great New England bard Robert Frost. His poems capture something very deep about what it is like to be a New Englander … things that are still true in us today. Here are his words on the topic.

    After Apple-Picking
    BY ROBERT FROST

    My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
    Toward heaven still,
    And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
    Beside it, and there may be two or three
    Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
    But I am done with apple-picking now.
    Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
    The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
    I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
    I got from looking through a pane of glass
    I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
    And held against the world of hoary grass.
    It melted, and I let it fall and break.
    But I was well
    Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
    And I could tell
    What form my dreaming was about to take.
    Magnified apples appear and disappear,
    Stem end and blossom end,
    And every fleck of russet showing clear.
    My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
    It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
    I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
    And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
    The rumbling sound
    Of load on load of apples coming in.
    For I have had too much
    Of apple-picking: I am overtired
    Of the great harvest I myself desired.
    There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
    Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
    For all
    That struck the earth,
    No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
    Went surely to the cider-apple heap
    As of no worth.
    One can see what will trouble
    This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
    Were he not gone,
    The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his
    Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
    Or just some human sleep.

    Interesting that he focuses on *after* apple picking ….

    Like

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