way back playback: apple pickin’ saturday

good morning!


thanksgiving weekend is here – for us canadians, anyway. u.s. friends, you’re welcome to celebrate and be thankful, too!

how did it get to be turkey weekend already? didn’t i just wish you happy canada day?!

our family is big on traditions. when we were little, the saturday morning of thanksgiving weekend featured our annual trip to the apple orchard. we would drive down to st george (just south of cambridge, maybe a 30 minute trip) and pick our bushel baskets of apples. we would go with our grandpa and grandma c (my mom’s parents). we wouldn’t all drive together, though – two empty trunks were needed to take home all the apples.

i remember that the apple orchard was divided into different sections for different types. back in the 70’s, there weren’t as many varieties or hybrids of apples as we have today. we only could pick types that were natural to southern ontario: macs, ida reds, spies…those are the names that stick in my head.

after entering the farm, we’d bumpity bump down the lane to our first stop. everyone would hop out of the cars. mom, dad, grandma and grandpa would do the actual picking. the brother and i got to play!! we excitedly climbed trees, jumped on picked up fallen apples, plucked and munched apples right off the trees, ran around…man, it was a good time.

archive photos from thanksgiving '74 - i would have been 4.5 years old, the brother 18 months

when we got a bit older, the best part by far was the travel from one part of the orchard to another. now, remember: this was the 70’s, and ideas on safety were different than today! since we were going 5 mph for 100 feet from the macs to the ida red’s (or whatever), the brother and i were allowed to sit in the trunk of the car (it was open, of course), along with the apples and the bushel baskets. this was just about as exciting as life could get – we would be beside ourselves with glee at this hilarious ride. i wish i had a photo!

my grandparents and my parents would each pick bushel upon basket of apples. both houses had fruit cellars, so the apples would keep through the winter. and my grandpa loved to make his own applesauce. many a cold winter night, our family would enjoy homemade apple crisp or pie from our thanksgiving apples!

thanksgiving weekend, 1977 - looks like it was a beauty of a sunny day!

after the picking was over, it was picnic time! mom and grandma would co-ordinate a simple lunch of sandwiches, coffee for the adults and juice for the kids, fingerfood munchies, dessert. i clearly recall that we always had my grandma’s lemon squares. to this day, no one makes a lemon square – even if it’s her recipe! – that matches hers. also totally 70’s: everything we brought for the picnic was re-useable: tupperware, thermoses, cutlery, plates…and a blanket to sit upon!

that year, our friends the c's (mr & mrs + 3 kids) joined us! gram and gramps are in the lawn chairs

just this week, my neighbourhood and blogging friend, tricia, posted about her family going apple picking. that’s what triggered my memories! i’m glad to see the tradition continues in other families – such a simple outing that is such a lot of fun.

ever picked your own apples? i have not been apple picking since this childhood era!

what’s your favourite type of apple? i love crunchy, tart, apples – faves would be honeycrisp, gala and red delicious if they’re not mealy (you have to know how to pick ’em with that variety). on these childhood apple picking outings, i loved eating the ida reds right off the tree – they were tart enough to make your eyes water!


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  • Gina Unger  On October 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    WOW! Your descriptions and pictures brings back many memories for me! I wonder if your family and mine picked apples at the same orchard!?! I was just telling apple picking stories to my kids recently and wishing we could go to an orchard around here. Yes, the most exciting parts were what you said: being allowed to ride on the back of the car from section to section and being allowed to eat the apples as you picked! I don’t recall that we went on a particular weekend – just every Fall. Great idea to do a picnic afterwards, too! Yummy lemon squares! I recognize the C family! πŸ™‚

    • 1970kikiproject  On October 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      oh that is too fun that you remember apple picking, too! i bet your kids love hearing stories from your childhood…so fun to pass along the memories! happy thanksgiving, gina!!! πŸ™‚

  • Lisa  On October 8, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Great pics and memories!
    We live in “apple country” so we usually just walk through Joe’s parents’ farm to the neighbors and pick their apples πŸ™‚
    I love tart crunchies too—local ones Macintosh and Empires (one is better than the other, but I can never remember till I try them both each year!). Galas are my fave to buy at the grocery store…I think they’re usually from washington in the store, but SO crunchy and good!

    • 1970kikiproject  On October 8, 2011 at 10:11 am

      i hope you can get out to the farm soon, lisa! bet it’s very relaxing to escape to the country. have a super weekend! hope you have the same sunshine we’re enjoying!

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