This was our third year going apple picking at Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville. It really is a trek to get down there - about an hour and a half drive - but it is such a fun tradition and we all love it. I am grateful we have these recurring things we do each year because I have enjoyed looking back on the blog posts from past years and seeing how our family has grown and changed (2013 is here and 2014 is here). The weather was cool and crisp when we set out in the morning from Dublin but by the time we got to Watsonville it was hotter than we have experienced before for apple picking and this year the apples seemed smaller or less plentiful - maybe because of the drought? But we had a good time picking and eating together. Rose was way into it and was grabbing apples off the ground left and right and trying to fill the bucket as fast as she possibly could. She only slowed down when she realized she could sit and eat apples that we gave to her.
We mostly pick Galas for eating and Pippins for baking, with a few Golden Delicious thrown in for good measure. The orchard has Red Delicious too, but honestly who eats those anyway? Blech. Clara and Rose will eat apples all day long though so we can actually pick quite a lot for eating and then I like to make pie, bread, pancakes with cider syrup, cobbler, and salads with the rest.
After we finish picking apples, we always go to the barn to buy fresh apple cider (that stuff is AMAZING - so completely different from apple juice and so, so good that we go through it way too fast) and get pie to eat there. The cider processing machinery is located in a big building next to these stacks of crates but we have never seen them making the cider, which I think would be really cool. Maybe next year I will research when that happens and whether we can go watch.
I love apple pie (all pie, really) but since I knew I would be making one with the apples we had picked, I opted for a slice of ollalieberry pie, which was delicious. The girls and Paul had Dutch Apple, which is Paul's favorite. It was all so yummy and the girls got very, very sticky.