Is it just me or is fall the best season of the year?! Sure, give me the sun and beach and I'll be a happy little clam, but I love the change of the seasons, the crisp air that smells like leaves and evergreen, the autumn sun with just enough of a soft chill to grab your favorite scarf and the countryside blazing with rich colors.
And besides....autumn is a good cover-up for those messy-hair days which can easily be blamed on the season's restless wind. (Yep, that's the culprit behind my eldest's cowlick that remains perpetually untamed. Stickin' to that story.)
As a mom, I love the chance to take my kids to a local apple orchard. When we lived in the midst of a major metropolis, a local U-Pick orchard meant either dodging the chestnut-sized apples along the streets or grabbing a handful from a bin in a store. I now take full advantage of all we have here.
I love the thrill my little ones get out of reaching up and plucking a
ready-to-eat treat right from the tree.
This year, I'm even going to attempt apple crumb and apple pie recipes. There's something about apples and cinnamon simmering in the slow cooker, the lingering scent of fall making itself home in my kitchen, that makes me feel like my sub-par baking abilities will suddenly increase to gourmet chef. In any case, I think the secret to a tasty, warm autumn treat is to start with fresh-from-the-orchard ingredients.
And just where to find these scrumptious apples waiting to be nibbled?
Here's just a few Tri-County area orchards:
Dutter's Gibbsville Orchard is an unexpected adventure nestled near Sheboygan Falls. Take a wagon ride out to the sprawling orchard and choose from several varieties. Be sure to stop in at the charming country store, filled to the brim with seasonal produce, crafty gift items, and a plethora of random delights.
On the other side of the Tri-County area near Chilton, Heritage Orchard is equally as enjoyable. Again, you can choose to pick your own apples or stop at the on-site Farm Market, where you can select from 20 varieties of fresh-picked apples and other homemade products. Don't forget to try their delectable apple cider donuts....yum!
Sweet caramel apples are also made fresh on-site.
Another favorite? You can't go wrong with a stop at Whispering Orchards Cafe and Apple Storein Cleveland. Wander the farm to visit the animals and pet a goat or two, before stopping in for a hearty, homemade (and downright delicious!) meal. Shop for country crafts and fresh apple products, like their honey-sweetened applesauce and fresh apple cider.
These are just the tip of the apple tree when it comes to the Tri-County area orchards: