Apple Picking

Every fall a whole list of activities comes barreling down: pumpkin patches, cider tastings, harvest festivals, Oktoberfests, and more. Now that we had a kid our list is even bigger because there's so much to do with kiddos! And all of it is exhausting and takes twice as long and leaves everyone wiped at the end of the day.

So, we've actually been barely chipping away at the list, but it's okay. We did do one of my favorite day trips ever: heading to the Fruit Loop in Hood River. It's been a fall tradition for us for awhile now, and we've only skipped a few years here and there. Last year was one that we did skip, so we were extra excited to get out there this time with a walking, excited-by-everything toddler. We loaded up and headed out early down the Columbia Gorge.

Real-talk: she still faces backwards and gets carsick sometimes, poor thing. So when she got really fussy halfway there, we just pulled over for a little out-of-the-car time. It happened to be at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, so we wandered around the lovely grounds and saw some baby fish. The sturgeon ponds and surrounding gardens are gorgeous: and the sturgeons are HUGE!

When we were on our way again we headed to Kiyokawa Family Orchards, a great U-Pick destination for apples and pears. The farmhouse has been in the family since 1911, even through the family's forced relocation to an internment camp during WWII.

We got ourselves a map of apple locations, a box, and a wagon, and headed to the orchards. I love the names: Winter Banana, Johnny, Fuji, Mountain Rose. Edda helped by finding windfall apples on the ground and trying to unload our box or steal from others' boxes. But we eventually got a good haul. Inside the store they also sell concord grapes (yum!), plenty of varieties of pears, Asian pears, and all the apples they grow. I also got to pick kiwi berries growing on a vine! I've had these before, but never picked them myself. So fun!

My plan is to make applesauce. We'll see if that happens. If I don't act soon, however, all the delicious fruit flesh will be in the mouth of a demanding toddler.