Apples and Apples and Apples (Food Memories of 2011, No. 23)

Every day in December, I'm writing a short post about some food memory from 2011, mostly to be more thankful for all the great food and drink I've been lucky enough to have this year.

In late September of this year, some friends and I rented a minivan, piled in, and drove about an hour north of New York City to New Paltz, NY, to pick apples. With seven of us in on the adventure, we still shelled out at least $25 apiece for the van, gas, tolls, and apples, which ran $1.10 per pound. At my local produce market, I can usually get them for about $0.99 per pound.

Anyone who lives in upstate New York, that area north and west of the city, beyond the Catskill Mountains, might see this expensive venture as ridiculous. If you live upstate, apple-picking is what you do on a whim on a weekend with the kids. It costs next to nothing to drive 20 minutes to an orchard, and those farms will charge less than a quarter of that price. My sister who lives in western New York told me she went to an orchard that charged $0.25 per pound.

But city life is expensive, and there are tradeoffs. Leaving the city to drive into the country is a rare treat, and one I'm willing to pay for because I only do it maybe twice a year. 

We loaded up on about 10 pounds of apples, which disappeared much faster than I imagined: less than two weeks! We ate most of the apples raw, but I did cook a German apple cake that was fantastic and not too sweet.