Monday, October 20, 2014

Apple Daze

Last week Paul and I went to Detering Orchards to pick apples with two of our friends. We picked two flats of apples and then bought some vegetables and fresh pressed cider that we're fermenting into hard cider. But after a week of eating apples and making crumbles, we didn't have enough to make applesauce, the whole reason I wanted to pick apples in bulk in the first place, so we decided to go again this week with our friend Sam who is also really into canning/preserving/applesauce-making like we are. I met Sam working in the primate osteology lab last year, and not only is she a great friend, but she really understands my obnoxious love of animals and also of my weird love of things like bones and taxidermy. When we're together we do things like go get ice cream and then check out DIY taxidermy books from the library, or walk her dog in the rain and then go get tea. So the first thing we both wanted to do at the farm was pet the cows. We also weirdly had on the same sweatshirt, rolled up blue jeans, and Chaco sandals.

The cows were extra vocal and extra slobbery. I think they were in a pretty great mood. The curly headed one really liked getting behind her ears scratched. I'm positive there are plenty of great places to go apple picking in Eugene. But I'm weirdly attached to Detering Orchards. I get very loyal to things that don't require my loyalty. I usually bring my lunch and snack from home, but if I buy food on campus, I eat at the same Jewish deli every single time. Not only am I always in the mood, but I know I like it there, and I would feel weird if I went somewhere else. It's the same thing here. If I'm picking apples or peaches, I want to go to Detering Orchards. It's cute and really cheap. It's not organic, but honestly, I care much less about the official label of organic than I do about supporting local businesses with good, ethical farming practices. It was started in 1934 by a couple who hadn't even finished building their house before they started growing vegetables. It's one of the most diversified farms with the most crops in the Willamette Valley. The founder's grandson runs it today. I just love it. 

Here's a funny candid picture I couldn't not include. Sam and I were posing for pictures, and stopped to contemplate the apples we were using as props. Sam's apple was too juicy. Mine I apparently did not like that much.

I think the only disappointing thing about the whole trip was the fact that despite being the end of October, it was pretty hot, almost 80 degrees. That's too hot for apple picking. The weirdly hot and not rainy weather this fall in Oregon also messed up the apple ripening schedule. There were some apple varieties that weren't even supposed to be fully ripe yet that were already all rotten on the ground because they peaked way too early with all of this heat.

I think we got to the orchard around nine in the morning and we were the second car in the lot. By the time we left it was maybe one or two, and all the lots, even the one across the road were all filled up. Some people were picking like half a bucket of apples and then leaving. Sam, Paul, and I go big or go home.  All of these apples on the cart translated into two flats of apples for Paul and I and three flats for Sam.

After apple picking, we were all a little exhausted, so Sam took us to one of her favorite places, a cute little neighborhood pizza shop called Whirled Pies. It's a place I've been wanting to go for months, but we're never in that part of town. It was adorable. I especially liked their sense of humor. Recently, a really awful couple was booted from the restaurant after being scary and disruptive. The couple came back that night, broke the window, and lit the curtain on fire using their homemade moonshine as fuel. Their attempt to burn down the restaurant was unsuccessful and since, Whirled Pies added a pizza called Moonshine Molotov to their menu, which has spicy garlic cream sauce, sausage, and green chilies. Way to make the best of a crappy situation. 

We got a pizza with peanut sauce, cilantro, roasted garlic cloves, red onions, and fresh chaunterelle mushrooms. A+ pizza, A+ friend, A+ apple picking twice in two weeks.

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