It's important to get an early start. The orchards are going to get busy the later it gets, so we were awake by 7am and eating breakfast at 7:30am. The kids were amazed by the automatic pancake machine.
Ian said he could tell how it worked because he could see the gears. Gears are important for engineering huh buddy.
Our first stop of the day is Riley's Farm, and we pulled in to the parking lot around 8:30am. Things are supposed to start up around 9am, so we've got a little bit of time. There was only 1 other car in the parking lot too, so we've definitely beaten the crowds. We walked around exploring the grounds a bit. And there's plenty to see here.
Any excuse to take a photo.
There's so much to do here, they've got a map of everything on their property. I'm glad we made it here today. Riley Farms is one of the sites we didn't get to see last year.
You can smell them before you see them, hi sheep!
Finding stray bits of hay that the sheep came over to devour.
U-pick apples starts at 9am, so we hiked up to the first spot.
Waiting while the water tank goes by to help keep the dust on the roads down.
I'm not old, and I'm not giving tours.
Ten minutes before 9 we found our first booth, got our bags, and headed to the orchard to pick some apples. These first apples are Senshu apples, described as a sweet and crisp eating apple.
They don't like you eating apples in the orchard without paying for them, so Ian picked 1 apple and Alli picked one apple and we brought it back to the register to weigh them and pay for them.
Ian has a nice red one.
Alli found one she likes.
Once we paid for them, it was time to eat them. Gram brought water to rinse them off. An important step as we'll soon find out.
Ian's got a pretty loose tooth so he's got to bite into them on only 1 side.
The apples were still cool and crisp from chilling out overnight. Everyone agreed that these were delicious. Let's fill up our bag and get some more!
Easy to get to these apples. I suspect they're all grafts of dwarf trees.
That's an interesting combination. I really big trunk with an itty bitty trunk of a Senshu apple tree grafted onto the top.
Get those good ones way up high Alli!
You too Ian.
As we continued our picking, suddenly a white dog appeared.
He was very friendly and wanted to see what we were doing.
T started reaching for an apple and he was underfoot. He stuck his nose up onto the one she was holding...
And took a nice big lick of it.
He seemed pretty happy with himself after that too. The kids already were loving him, but when he licked that apple they laughed and loved him even more.
And that's why it's probably a good idea to wash your fruit before eating it.
I read his tag and learned his name.
Say hello to Fritz!
Back at the registers we learned that Fritz lives at the farm next door, but sometimes like to come visit over here. He seemed really interested in the apple I was eating too. He wouldn't eat apples from the ground, but did like to lick the juice off the one I had bitten into.
The next two varieties are a bit of a hike into the farm. And it looks like Fritz is joining us! The kids were both encouraging Fritz to come with us.
They'd sure love a dog.
Always keeping an eye on him.
Fritz spent a good 20 minutes with us. It was probably a good thing we were with him too. After sniffing his way through these blackberry bushes he came out limping.
We've been pulling these thorns out of our shoes since we got here. T even had the unfortunate luck to step on one with bare feet inside the hotel room overnight.
And when I caught up with Fritz I wasn't surprised to find one of these in his paw. They're nasty.
Finally at the back of the orchard there were 2 more varieties to try.
Snow apples - Sweet eating apple. Very crisp and juicy.
Maiden's Blush - When fully ripe it's a nice eating apple. When slightly unripe it's tart and tangy like a baking apple.
Similar to before, Theresa found a couple of each kind that she liked so we could buy them and taste them before picking a bag full of them.
I took a big bite of the snow apple and...
You said it Ian. These I do not like. Neither the flavor nor the texture. Everyone else agreed. These can stay on the trees.
Fritz decided that he was going to take off so the kids waved their goodbye, and were always trying to watch and see if he would come back. "Where's Fritz?" is something we heard quite a few times after this.
Now let's head back to the entrance and see what else we can do.
There's a small patch of raspberries we saw walking in. Ian loves loves loves raspberries. For $5 prepaid we got a small container to fill up.
They warned us that it was likely going to be slim pickins, but with 6 people it wasn't too bad. Besides, we're paying for the experience, not the berries so much. The hunt is half the fun! It wouldn't be much fun if we got everything we wanted on the first bush without any effort.
Why do raspberries have that hole in the middle of them? When you pick them, the stem stays with the bush and the juicy fruit is all that comes off.
Apparently we don't have enough fruit yet because we're stopping by the peach section too. The peach section on the map is really just 1 tree from what I could see. The trees behind it were apple trees. Mmm. The smell of this peach tree is so good.
Get the nice red ripe ones Alli.
Ian there's a bunch on that branch up high. See what you can do.
Time to go pay for our peaches.
We had a great time at Riley's Farm. We'll be back here again for sure. I was really glad to get here so early because it was a bit crazy when we left. The parking lot was completely full and people were waiting for our spot.
It's 10:30am and we've already done so much. But it's not time to go home yet. I need to press some cider!