Saturday, October 30, 2010

Picking Pumpkins at Hacklebarney Farm

 Semestral break is one of the few times in the year when all the cousins in different schools are off school at the same time. When my father-in-law learns that all the grandchildren have more than a week off, he immediately plans a trip!

This particular trip a couple of years back started off in the US east coast and we were able to  catch the last week of pumpkin picking at  Hacklebarney Farm in Chester, New Jersey.

Definitely a new experience for us who come from the other side of the world. 
While we do celebrate Halloween here with trick or treating, costumes and all, 
we don't have pumpkins to pick or jack-o-lanterns to carve!

The fields were already withered and there were only a few pumpkins left. But that didn't matter--we never saw a pumpkin patch before so we were so excited.

The G was not a happy camper as it was too cold for her 
but she agreed to pose with some pumpkins.
 On the other hand, C who loves the airconditioner always on full blast happily went about picking
all the pumpkins she could get her hands on, even if they were quite heavy.

After picking pumpkins outside for about twenty to thirty minutes, we went into the farm store to buy the pumpkins and to and warm up with hot mulled cider.

We would've loved to try the cider dog, but the kiosk was closed for the day. That's what happens when you have a whole household of kids and you need to get everybody out the door...late for everything! 
If you noticed, we were the only ones picking pumpkins at this late time of day.

They were also selling apples at the farm store. 
They had them separated by variety in little buckets, with some buckets marked "pie blend". 
I was tempted to buy a couple of buckets and make some pies, but we were traveling with the whole extended family, and this was definitely no time to be a "Martha"!

Here in Manila, I've only come across Fuji, Granny Smith and Red Delicious apples. Maybe a couple of more varieties or so. But the varieties in the States confuse me. Sometimes I just want a plain apple and I don't know which one to pick. Here is an apple chart and list which I got off this blog.

  • Macintosh - smaller red apples, juicy, slightly tart and softer, best for baking and applesauce; harvest: Sept.
  • Granny Smith - bright green, firm, juicy and tart, perfect for eating, in salads and baking; harvest: late Sept-early October
  • Empire - a NY developed variety is a cross of Macintosh and Red Delicious, semi-crisp, sweet and tart, good for eating, baking and desserts, cider; harvest: late Sept.
  • Red Delicious - dark red, sweet, med-crisp, great for anything, most popular apple sold in US; harvest: late Sept./early Oct.
  • Ida Red - big red apples, juicy and sweet, good for cooking/baking, desserts, applesauce; harvest: early-mid Oct.
  • Mutsu (Crispin) - one of my favs is yellowish-green, crisp and sweet, great for eating, applesauce and cider; harvest: mid-late Oct. for sweeter apples
  • Honeycrisp - my ALL TIME fav is medium red and yellow, very crisp and very sweet, just a little tart; harvest: mid Sept. and have a long shelf life; These are mostly grown in the midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan) as they were developed in Minn.  I have found that these are more expensive than other apples but in my opinion, well worth the price!

Back to Hacklebarney now--they also had all these homemade (farm-made) goodies too.

Back outside, C spied a few ears of corn...

She was thrilled that she was the only one who found corn in a farm that
(she thought) had only pumpkins and apples. I found out belatedly that there is an amazing corn maze on this farm, but I think finding the maize was the closest we got to the maze. lol.

It was an amazing "stateside" fall day for all of us,
and these city-slicker kids had the thrill of adding "pumpkins" to their  
produce-that-we've-picked list!

Happy Halloween to all!

1 comment:

Merri Cvetan, The Design Coach said...

Lovely blog. Found you at "Blogging Your Way". I love to meet creative women.


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