Apple Picking - Edward's Orchard
Yesterday was the first day of fall, and I thought it would only be right to ring in the season with some apple picking. My close buddies and I drove out to Edward's Orchard in Poplar Grove, Illinois. It was my first time apple picking as every year something else got in the way. This year I was determined, and despite a rather large fire drill from work that forced me to spend some time checking my e-mails and making phone calls, I was able to enjoy myself and the beautiful weather we had yesterday.
The way this orchard works is by driving your car around the orchard following the signs until you get to where you see the bushel baskets. This is where you can pick apples.For those of you who love apples, you will be in apple heaven because they only sell apples by the bushel (unless you buy them in the store, but they are much more expensive). There is a $30.00 minimum (sounds like a lot, but you wouldn't believe how many apples you get for that price), and they make great gifts for family and friends. There were a couple friends of ours who couldn't make it, so I set some apples aside for them to have.
Now, I am pretty sure that you don't need any culinary suggestions from me as far as what to make with apples (Dutch Apple Pie with Oatmeal Streusel, 10 Minute Apple Sauce, Apple Cider Doughnuts, Apple Cobbler...), however, I am going to suggest one snacky-style dish that I can't get enough of:
Cut up apple into slices, removing the core. Cut thin slices of brie cheese. Lay the brie on top of the sliced apple and drizzle with honey. At this point you can bake it (or nuke it, but I'd nuke it before putting on the honey) if you'd like it to be slightly warm and the cheese to be gorgeously runny, or you can eat it as is, nice and cold and crisp. Your call, but my only suggestion is that you should slice the brie when it's cold, you'll find the going is much easier. Also, if you're planning on making this for a party, squeeze a little lemon juice on the apple slices to keep them from turning brown. Oooh, you could also pile the goodness on top of some pre-toasted crostini for a little bit more crunch. Either way, it's a big hit, and I honestly can't imagine a better snack. So freakin' good.
As they have particular seasons, not every apple at Edward's Orchard is available for picking at the same time. So, if you're looking to pick a certain variety give the nice folks at the orchard a call (815.765.2234) to find out the pick of the day. They also have blackberry and raspberry bushes you can pick yourself too. YUM!!!
P.S. I planned to take a picture of the snack I made, but I ate it too fast...sorry...