One of the many reasons I love living on the east coast is the trees. Come autumn, there’s an art show in the trees. Keep your cones and desert, west coast. I’ll take the Deciduous trees. Their visual, cyclical renewal feels better, hopeful, than your towering sameness and arid granules.Of course, getting beyond New York City is always battle. But the wounds heal immediately upon arrival at the Sloatsburg rest area. There’s a recharge there, like a video game; heart containers are full once again. From there, the New York Thruway is effortless. A joy, actually.
We were heading north to pick apples, as people of the Fall tend to do inexplicably (see here)–following a rainbow that broke a grey sky into pieces, the persistent blue sky calling the weather folks fools. Meanwhile I wondered, for the thousandth time, what the heck Tappan Zee was named after. (My assumption of it being Native American was correct–the Tappan were a sub-tribe of the Lenape & Zee is a Dutch word meaning a wide expanse of water.)
After finding that there was really no such thing as a truly organic orchard here on the east coast (Ok, west coast, you win there!), we were heading to a low-spray orchard–Stone Ridge Orchard, right outside of New Paltz. We passed a dozen you-pick-em places en route to Stone Ridge, likely with robust harvests of plump apples… but with a tough, chemical filmed skin no doubt. Stone Ridge was what I wanted, natural-sized apples with imperfections, not franken-apples.
The orchard was all ours! Just a few other souls were wandering about the trees. We picked a half bushel– strolling the lined rows, feeling the porous, packed crunch of the over-ripe apples under our feet. Idyllic.
Brown braids, dirty jeans, and my boots in moist earth. October is the most wonderful time of the year.
And Stone Ridge’s farmstand even had a vegan cookie for me! With our bag of apples secured in the backseat, the trip back would be devoted to day dreams on apple recipes. I began plotting an apple take-over in the kitchen.