Three weeks into my first year of college and I’m already sick of the dining hall food. Being a vegetarian, there really aren’t that many options for me in the first place. I make do with what I can find but I’ve been craving something fresh, you know? And then I got an email from AIV (Asian Intervarsity) and apparently there was an apple picking event coming up on Sunday?! How great is that!? Well, I’ll be honest, apples aren’t really my favorite fruit. They just seem so bland and standard to me. But let me tell you, if you’ve never eaten fresh apples, they are a whole different world. So juicy and ripe and big and small and green and red! I’d already eaten lunch but that wasn’t on my mind at all! One, two, three apples disappeared before me as I gobbled them all up. Yum.
So here’s how the day actually went. We all met up and carpooled over to Carter’s Mountain (my car was the first to leave yet the last to arrive… what?! Grr. Traffic.). We went up to the stands and quickly obtained bags for apple collection. Then we split into our teams (family groups) and raced to the fields to pick the best apples in the crop. Hint! Pick the ones that are big (best for cooking purposes) and that have red-ish hues to them (very very sweet). If you find one that’s big and red, then you totally lucked out. That’s a fantastic apple. Unfortunately, most of the best ones are rather high up in the trees, so be prepared to jump! One guy on our team managed to locate a beautiful cluster of large red apples. Twice! And he invoked his godly tree-climbing skills to get them (don’t actually climb the trees, though, I don’t think we’re supposed to do that. Oops.).
After all the finest apples were collected and dumped into our bag (I was carrying it… it got so heavy.. Sad face.), we secured ourselves a table and sat down to nom on our apples and apple-related products. Once again, I don’t really have that much of a sweet tooth; and usually when I eat something sweet and then something sweet again right afterwards, the sweetness is kind of numbed and dulled down, but all that went out the window because the sweetness never stopped! The apple donuts were heavenly, especially when dipped into the apple cider. Mmm I still remember the taste. And then there were apple pies and ice cream and it was all just great fun sitting and eating together. Food is good. Food with friends is better. Yummy, fresh food with friends is the best.
For all you UVA kids out there, I strongly recommend you go on one of these wonderful apple picking adventures. Pretty much all the cultural clubs do it at some point (or at least, it seems that way) so join one and go! And for everyone else, there’s probably something similar near you (even if it’s not apples, at different times of the year, there can be peach picking or pumpkins and lots more!). If not for the taste of fresh produce, the scenic view of the fruit and mountains, or the bubbly atmosphere, do it for the fun experience with some friends! But seriously, do it for the fruit. It’s delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I will be going to the farmer’s market one of these Saturdays and stocking up on as much as possible! And it’s also a wonderful opportunity to actually go out of your house, disconnect from your electronics and all, and just spend some time in mother nature. It’s amazing how uplifting and calming it can be. It really made me appreciate what the Earth has to offer. Anyways, happy eating, all!
Protips: if you do end up going (which you definitely should!), bring comfortable footwear, extra money for purchasing apples and all of the assorted apple-related products, and a camera because the picture-taking possibilities are plentiful.