Half-a-peck of reasons to love October


Ever since that first cold night, when the green of summer started to show patches of red and yellow and gold up on the hilltops, I’ve started thinking about apples.

I started thinking about pies; and applesauce; and every time I walked through the produce section of the grocery store, where they’ve started piling them near the front, I’ve inhaled deeply.

But bananas and peaches and plums have consistently been cheaper-per-pound, and so I’ve left them.

It’s a strange place to be for me, craving apples. Previous years that’s all I’ve bought, and they’ve become such a mainstay part of my diet that they seemed boring.

But this summer, seasonal produce caught my eye, and I haven’t bought apples since spring and the parade of strawberries, grapes, cherries and peaches came across the checkout line.

Until Saturday.

Helman’s Orchard between Clymer and Indiana was selling apples at $15 a bushel. I had to search “what’s a bushel?” online to realize that $15 has every grocery store in town beat easily; and that I could never eat, freeze or process a bushel of apples. (Roughly 48 pounds, per Google).

I couldn’t quite remember where there might be an orchard there on Route 286. I drive there frequently, but never noticed one.

And yet there it was, a red barn-like building on the edge of the road with a basket of apples out in front. It took about 30 seconds for me to realize that I don’t really know apples, despite eating them nearly every day of my adult life.

The small room was heady with apple smells. Bags of half-bushels, pecks and half-pecks lined tables. Jonathan, Macintosh, Winesap, Red and Golden Delicious apples were grouped by category, some with hand-scrawled notes like “great for eating” or “great for baking.”

I was lost.

I have no earthly idea what I like. They all looked pretty. They all smelled good. And they were all the same price. I couldn’t even default toward the cheapest.

I chose by the name, and now I have half-a-peck of Winesap apples sitting on a bowl on my kitchen counter (because how can I not buy apples with “wine” in the name,” along with half-a-gallon of fresh apple cider in my fridge.

And though fall means the end of summer, and the end of sunshine, I remember now why I love it.

There’s just something about those rich, dark colors all around; and the crisp smell of fresh-picked apples filling my own small kitchen.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Half-a-peck of reasons to love October

  1. I’m with you! Recently pulled out of my end-of-summer slump into eating/drinking apple products all day, every day! I recommend you purchase yourself a nice caramel dip for those apple slices. 🙂

  2. J.E.S.se

    Last time I tried them, Winesap was definitely my favorite.

  3. Mmmmm, caramel dip and Winesap apples… does it get much better?!

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