Fall is definitely here. I can tell because I wake up every morning and instantly throw on socks and my UGG boots and yearn for something warm to drink. This is my first fall living in New England and since everybody raves about New England falls I figured I had to go do something quintessentially “fall” to welcome the new season. It just seemed appropriate.
Back in Oregon, for me that would usually mean visiting wine country during the fall/harvest season, one of the most exciting times to actually visit a winery where you can witness the action of the grapes coming in, vineyard and winery staff hard at work, and experience the sights and smells of harvest. But since I am not in Oregon this fall I thought I’d experience a different harvest; apple harvest at a local apple farm.
So a couple weeks back I was visiting some family in Syracuse, NY, and on our way back to CT we decided to stop at an apple farm and see what it was all about. Besides, I had never visited an apple farm before, nor picked my own apples so I thought “when in apple country…”
We visited Beak & Skiff Apple Farm and Country Store in Lafayette, NY, at the recommendation of my hubby’s awesome cousin who is from the area. Here are a few of the highlights.
I loved that they had every variety for sale available to taste. Call me an apple ammeteur but I was pretty surprised how incredibly different each variety tasted when you compare them side by side! So cool.
After all that apple sampling it was time for a treat. Fresh warm apple fritters paired with hot apple cider. So delicious on a crisp fall afternoon!
After the apple picking we noticed they also have a winery so it was pretty much a no brainer that we’d stop in to check out their apple wines. Now let me just preface this by saying that I typically consider fruit wines (wines made from fruit other than grapes), in a very different category as grape wines, therefore I judge them and even drink them differently than I would sipping a glass of grape wine. I know many folks who turn their noses up at fruit wines. Not me. I appreciate all fermented fruit beverages, in different ways.
They had a lineup of about six wines to try, from dry to sweet, still and sparkling, all apple wines, and I have to say, the sweet ones weren’t half bad if you think about them like drinking a cocktail rather than a glass of wine. They also had a distillery that was very tempting to visit… but perhaps next time.
As for all the apples we bought at the farm… all 15 lbs of them… well, when life gives you apples, make an apple crisp! And that’s exactly what I did. Now since I have never attempted baking an apple crisp before I decided to consult my food guru, Ina Garten, for her advice since Ina has never (EVER) let me down when it comes to her recipes (which is precicely why she’s my favorite). What I found was her recipe for Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp from the Barefoot Contessa Parties! cookbook. I have to admit that sadly the pictures I took of my apple crisp didn’t come out, but I promise you it looked exactly like the one in this picture ;)
(Click for recipe) Ina Garten's Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp
I used about ¾ Crispin apples and ¼ Macoun apples, and followed the rest of her recipe pretty much to a T. Ina never ceases to amaze me with her talent. The recipe came out delicious.
If you live in an area with fresh apples, I highly recommend this recipe. It is incredibly comforting and delicious. It makes a lot, but you could easily halve the recipe to make a smaller portion, or even customize into ramekins for individual portions.
Wine Recommendation: This apple crisp would be excellent paired with a blanc de blanc sparkling wine. This is sparkling wine made traditionally from Chardonnay grapes and is typically crisp with predominant flavors of apples (among many other delicious flavors). You can go for a brut (dry) or demi-sec (sweet) version. Trust me, both will compliment the warm, sweet, and devine apple dessert.
Now I have to know, what are your favorite fall traditions? Outside of Oregon, I’ve never really lived anywhere with a real fall season and am anxious to get into the fall spirit, especially now living in New England.