This past Sunday, J., our friend R. and I woke up at seven in the morning to have possibly the most wholesome day of all time — we went apple picking and antique hunting in upstate New York with our friend G.
We rode the train to 168th and Broadway, where G. picked us up in her car. We didn’t stop until we reached the farm, which was about an hour’s drive from Upper Manhattan.
What this photo of a rusty bus doesn’t show is that there is were millions of children running around. It was like a tots’ New Year’s Eve in Times Square, except out in the country with daylight and apple trees and not a Sbarro in sight. So many littl’uns! If you’ve ever thought slapstick was dead, watch a bunch of five- and unders in an apple orchard. The form is alive and well, from dropped bushels to kids — literally — eating it.
Here’s some apple porn. Green and red: take your pick.
When us young people pick apples, we get rowdy. Totally delinquent. By that I mean we shot several small films — R. with his 8mm camera, pictured above — of apple jugglin’, apple kickin’ and of R., the tallest of us, eatin’ apples straight off of the tree like a giraffe. None of those will be posted here. What I will post is a picture of G. holding an apple.
Doesn’t she have beautiful hands? She should. (She moonlights as a hand model.)
When the bushel above was full, we left the farm and drove to the Rhinebeck Fairgrounds, where we picnicked and gawped at unaffordable antiques. Then we drove to a barn sale, where scythes were on sale for five dollars apiece. I wanted one, but I have a policy about buying objects that are taller than me and not furniture — I don’t buy them.
G bought these adorable vintage Ravensburger trucks:
That evening, we made applesauce using a recipe in this month’s Martha Stewart Living. It calls for roasting the apples before pureeing them, a step that brings every flavor imaginable in a fresh apple to richly textured heights.
It took me a few weeks to track down a hard copy of the recipe so I could transcribe it, but here it is, from the October issue of Martha Stewart Living:
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of coarse salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 pounds small assorted apples, such as Gala, McIntosh, or Fuji (about 10)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine water, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Scatter butter pieces over mixture, and top with apples. Roast until apples are very soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Working in batches, pass apple mixture through the medium disk of a food mill and into a bowl. Stir in spices. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Applesauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Makes 4 cups.