13 Sep2009


There is nothing like a crisp apple. Now I can say with certainty that there is NOTHING like taking a bite out of an apple still attached to the tree, or picked five seconds before you eat it! We went apple picking a few days ago while driving around Maine and New Hampshire, something I had never done despite having lived in New England for four years while I was at college in the 1980’s. The apple picking season often starts around Labor Day, and we chanced upon an orchard which had just decided to open up to the public and allow folks to pick their own apples starting that day…


A peck is a unit of measure, roughly equivalent to two gallons, and four pecks make up a bushel. Armed with our plastic “peck”, we headed out to the rows and rows of apple trees, pruned specifically so it would be easy to pick the fruit. I was amazed by the sight of hundreds of trees, all laden with ripening fruit, and we had a wonderful time at the orchard. We were told that the Macintosh variety of apples was ready for picking so we concentrated our efforts there.


The amount of fruit on each tree was simply astonishing and they were so easy to reach and pick. I suspect that each tree must yield a good 100+ pounds of fruit, which is impressive given their small size.


In their natural state, the macintoshes had a reddish green skin, with an almost matte finish, albeit with a light dusting of “powder”. Most commercially available apples are waxed to extend their shelf life, and if you scrape them with your fingernail or a knife, you can see the thin film of wax come off the apple.


I bit into a freshly picked mac and it was superb! A tough-ish protective skin protected a crisp, juicy and somewhat sweet/tart interior. Yum.


We also were able to harvest a few utterly sublime mutsu apples. Less tart than a Granny Smith, I have loved the mutsu variety ever since I tasted my first one some 20 years ago.


Finally, I was able to snap this photo of Royal Gala apples, a variety I thought were primarily from Australia and New Zealand, but was growing in this orchard with great success. Their naturally shiny yellow red skins were beautiful to behold, and if ready/ripe, possess a really clean sweet apple flavor. Other rows in the orchard were planted to cortland, macoun, empire and other apple varieties. We ended up buying some 10 pounds of apples, which at 80 cents a pound, were a real bargain!


A crystal clear blue sky, a sunny afternoon, 60F temperature all made for a wonderful first time apple picking experience! Now the saying “As American as Apple Pie” makes a lot more sense to me… But if I am not mistaken, I think apples originally came from Asia/China. :)




  1. natie says:

    wow, it’s apple-picking time again…i bet you all had a great time, MM! any apple cider?

    Sep 13, 2009 | 11:00 am


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  3. ntgerald says:

    It was strawberry picking for me when I lived in Pittsburgh. I had a great time, and the berries were wonderful.

    Deer droppings in the fields, hahaha.

    Sep 13, 2009 | 11:06 am

  4. bearhug0127 says:

    you must have enjoyed picking apples… i know i would have!!!great shots!! apples… now how about some fresh apple pies?

    Sep 13, 2009 | 11:09 am

  5. marguerite says:

    Growing up just outside of Boston, we used to go MacIntosh apple picking every fall…

    My mom would make apple pies, apple crisps, apple sauce, apple dumplings… we always picked enough to give to both grandmothers too!

    Glad you had a nice time!

    Sep 13, 2009 | 11:18 am

  6. junb says:

    Mine is guava picking at our neighbors tree hehehehehe….but seriously there’s nothing compare to a farm picking whether it’s strawberry, apple, or even local fruits and vegetables.

    Sep 13, 2009 | 11:23 am

  7. ntgerald says:

    junb, that brings back a lot of memories. I had probably blacked out that portion of my childhood in the farm in Iloilo, lol.

    I had a grand time picking sineguelas, duhat, kamachili, guavas, and aratilis as well.

    I have a small farm near Tagaytay. Maybe I can open it for senyorita banana picking :-).

    Sep 13, 2009 | 11:36 am

  8. James says:

    You are correct, sir! Apples fresh from the tree are simply the best!

    For those not able to partake in this luxury, chill your apples in the fridge. Once very cold, eat them. Also, so, so good!

    Sep 13, 2009 | 12:05 pm

  9. thelma says:

    there are also apple orchards not far from where i live. next month is the best time to go there to pick apples. they provide the bucket and then just pay after you fill up the bucket. the
    best part is while picking apples, it also free to pick and eat those fresh, cold and crunchy apples fresh from the vines.
    the red ones in your picture are my favorite…

    Sep 13, 2009 | 2:02 pm

  10. eej says:

    Apples freshly picked from a tree has a special “crunch” when you bite into it. Nothing beats fresh!

    Sep 13, 2009 | 2:06 pm

  11. Gener says:

    I owned a small apple farm in morocco and sure that eating the apple 5 seconds picked is the best of it! crisp and natural juice is rolling in your mouth and the smell of fresh-picked apple is right around your nose..Anyway the apple i have is quite inferior to this american varieties in sizes.

    Sep 13, 2009 | 2:33 pm

  12. denise says:

    ohh…nice…i wish i can also experience that…my mom experienced that when she visited her sister in indiana..and the apples there were huge!like the fuji variety (based on the pictures we saw)

    Sep 13, 2009 | 5:38 pm

  13. ryanclaw says:

    Fresh apples.. Wow! Saraap!.. the images are great.. after some time reading your blog entries I noticed the images are getting crisp and sharp. What’s the specs of your SLR? just curious…

    Sep 13, 2009 | 5:55 pm

  14. mardie c",) says:

    ang bango cguro dyan noh. apples always remind me of christmas in pinas w/c always starts pagdating ng month of “Ber”. Merry Christmas to all!

    Sep 13, 2009 | 6:27 pm

  15. PatG says:

    MM – I recently relocated to burlington, VT (was last in WI when i was writing you)…let me know if you will be in NE again, would be great to meet ‘da great’ King of Pigs. Konti lang kaming pinoy sa VT.

    Sep 13, 2009 | 8:29 pm

  16. jean says:

    Thanks for posting this, MM! Loved going apple picking in Upstate New York. There is also an orchard in Chester, NJ that we frequented. We would watched the cider being pressed while munching on crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, freshly fried cider doughnuts. That to me, is the quintessential Northeast autumn, which I pine for. Have to convince the hubby to move back. Sigh!

    Sep 13, 2009 | 8:42 pm

  17. bernadette says:

    i do love eating apples freshly picked too…and then relish freshly pressed apple cider as well!

    Sep 13, 2009 | 9:01 pm

  18. rose aka sofia says:

    I love it! I hope when I go there I can do that too! Have a good trip, MM!

    Sep 13, 2009 | 9:21 pm

  19. joyce says:

    the apples look gorgeous, what color!

    Sep 13, 2009 | 9:33 pm

  20. Mom-Friday says:

    great looking apples you got there! what an experience! the closest I had to fruit-picking was with picking calamansi from my aunt’s garden!!! :D

    Sep 13, 2009 | 10:01 pm

  21. betty q. says:

    Thelma: next time you go picking and haven’t tried the apple variety called AMBROSIA>>>>go for that one! You will not be disappointed! AMBROSIA apples are simply the BEST! MM..,.if they have that variety over there, you just have to try it…much, much, much much,better than Royal Gala! Take my word for it on this one!!!!!

    I have been searching local nurseries here for AMBROSIA apple tree … finally a friend found one for me in the Cariboo, placed an order and will pick it up most likely next year!

    Sep 13, 2009 | 10:05 pm

  22. Hershey says:

    I LOL at the signage :D HAHAHAHAHAHA

    Sep 13, 2009 | 10:37 pm

  23. tercer says:

    Hi MM,

    You’re back in the USA. Perfect timing for after Labor Day sale shopping! I see multiple balikbayan boxes in MM’s near future! I hope you post again about your special finds for the kitchen. You can even send your boxes via airfreight now, and gets there in only about 7 days! There’s an ad in a pinoy newspaper in California for only $99 per box. Convenient too if you are over luggage limit. Maybe you can do a post on these new airline luggage limits and extra charges? I’m hoping to take my family next summer to the Philippines and I’m not sure how many pieces and weight is now allowed (for free), and how much cost for the extra weight or piece.

    Enjoy your stay and have a safe trip home!

    Sep 13, 2009 | 11:39 pm

  24. esubijano says:

    Has anyone ever tried the honeycrisp and sweet-tango varieties? The latter is a newly created variety according to this recent news article. I haven’t seen them around here in the bay area (ok, maybe I just don’t know where to look :)) and am curious about how good they really are. ‘Have always liked the “Fuji” variety though and they’re readily available here. Yup, picking fruits right off the tree is always fun — especially when done with your family. It’s been a while since I’ve done it with the wife and kid though … maybe when the next cherry season comes along.

    Sep 14, 2009 | 12:00 am

  25. betty q. says:

    Esubijano: come next cherry picking season…pick some STACCATO variety…the best! …comes right after the Lapins and much, much bigger than Lapins!

    Sep 14, 2009 | 2:55 am

  26. Beth says:

    Whoa!Apple picking….I always wanted to do that ever since I saw a picture of my cousins doing that…. but never had a chance…yet….hopefully…soon!MM, what did you do with all those apples?I bet, that will be the next post!

    Betty Q: May I know your email ad?I want to ask you about angel cake.My first attempt was a disaster!:(

    Sep 14, 2009 | 6:47 am

  27. natie says:

    my friends and i bring ginisang bagoong to the orchard and eat the granny smiths with that under the trees—along with a large picnic, of course—we once saw a pinoy group bringing a whole lechon to the orchard—and mahjjong tables…italians bring huge spreads too. wine and such– and they play cards..it’s international time at Masker’s upstate NY during picking months….

    Sep 14, 2009 | 11:25 am

  28. Connie C says:

    Hi MM. Looks like the apple trees in the orchard pictured above have been modified to grow vertically with clumps of fruit. Did you notice?

    I have not visited an orchard in many years except for an experimental orchard along the coast of Sweden several years ago.The trees grew vertically instead of having a crown like I remember from way back. It appears you can grow more trees in a tighter space that way and they are easier to pick as the fruits are clumped together. The particular varieties in the farm are grown more for their juice and were not as flavorful as the other varieties you featured. I found this out sampling a fruit obtained surreptitiously. Couldn’t resist the forbidden fruit, he, he.

    Sep 14, 2009 | 11:28 am

  29. Bubut says:

    Im just picking up the pandan leaves at our garden… enjoy your vacation!

    Sep 14, 2009 | 2:26 pm

  30. esubijano says:

    @bettyq: thanks for the tip on STACCATO. I don’t know if I’ve had them before … most of the time I just pop them cherries into my mouth without bothering to know what kind they are, hehe. I know about the BING and RANIER varieties, though. ‘Didn’t know they have sooo many cherry varieties.

    Sep 14, 2009 | 3:51 pm

  31. betty q. says:

    Esubijao: Staccato season is around mid-July over here. When you see the Lapins out in the markets, Staccato is not far behind. You can’t miss them…they are dark, almost black…and as Moni would say…GINORMOUS!!!!

    Sep 14, 2009 | 11:41 pm

  32. betty q. says:

    Beth: of course, you can send me an e-mail! What happened? …did it turn out like a HOCKEY PUCK? (just kidding!!!)…meringue problems?….you think the white angelfood cake stresses you out? ..wait till yout try making the chocolate angelfood cake! I have a friend who is a SEASONED BAKER …pulls his hair out still when his chocolate angelfood cake flops! …literally he is already KALBO!!!!

    Sep 14, 2009 | 11:46 pm

  33. thelma says:

    this is off the topic, mm. when is your cebu eyeball for
    silly lolo?

    Sep 15, 2009 | 12:27 am

  34. ted says:

    MM, I have a single Fuji Apple tree in my backyard, and the fruit are just about ripe, come first week of October they are ready for picking, they are so good sweet and crunchy and comparable to the Gala variety. I also have a single Asian pear variety and they are all gone, my siblings picked them off already. And yes nothing can beat eating the apple just picked from the tree.

    Sep 15, 2009 | 1:12 am

  35. Beth says:

    Betty Q: I already sent you an email.I hope I got your email ad right.I just searched it on the previous posts.I’ve attached a pic of the Fallen Angel Cake so you can scrutinized it better as to where I went wrong.:( Thanks a lot!

    Sep 15, 2009 | 9:13 am

  36. marissewalangkaparis says:

    MM it was great that there were several varieties…looked fun …bettyq–love cherries although I have never experienced picking them..so delish…but so expensive here…and rare at the supermarket…so when I travel and see some…I surely buy…cherries –well ripened –are so good….love them…

    Sep 18, 2009 | 9:58 am

  37. marissewalangkaparis says:

    P.S. Beth–know how you feel…when I have a fallen cake–I say waaaaaaa….and hubby smiles…and ribs me…then..am back to the kitchen trying again ever so carefully….hahaha..thanks to our bettyq and MM..less…waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas.Ha ha ha

    Sep 18, 2009 | 10:01 am

  38. emsy says:

    there is always something so romantic and thrilling about picking fruits straight off the tree especially if we just we normally only find them in supermarkets. i remember when i was younger my grandfather showed me a mangosteen tree in this property of ours and i really went off to pick a couple of fruits, even if they were still unripe. i was so giddy on our way home.

    Jan 11, 2010 | 10:25 am

  39. klieford says:

    i buy fuji apple in the market and i noticed that some seeds are already sprouting, so i did some experiment and transplanted the seeds to the soil after 1 week,i noticed 3 young apple trees na tumubo, kakatuwa makapalaki sana ako ng fuji apple dito sa amin sa occ mindoro.

    May 7, 2010 | 10:21 am


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