Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The Flowers Explore - Abbott Farms New York - 2021/09/29-30

We're continuing our trip west across New York and in order to keep our travel days short, Theresa has booked us back-to-back with another Harvest Host at another apple orchard! Tonight we're going to be parking the RV at Abbott Farms!

The Abbotts have been here, at this location, since 1869! Windsor Abbott and his wife Nancy (both in their 80s) are fourth generation farmers on this land! Their son Warren Abbott is the fifth generation and runs the day to day of the farm now. 

This map is starting to look busy! We've been to a lot of places in our 80 days on the road. 
That's a little better. We're driving just about 3 hours from Albany to Syracuse New York. 

Theresa and I looked over the map of the different locations we were allowed to park the RV while we're visiting. Some are more desirable than others, but we'll just have to see what's already taken by others when we arrive. Our first choice is 1ab, right by the front house and the barns. If we can squeeze the RV between those buildings we should be all good. Hopefully the entrance from C on the road won't be too tricky. 

We're here! They do warn that the house is 18" from the driveway. I pulled off the road and thankfully had enough room to pull over by the chicken coop. Theresa, the kids, and I hopped out of the car to take a look around at all the different spaces that might be available. 

There was just 1 other RV here and they picked a different spot. That meant that our first choice was available! Perfect! I circled around while Theresa watched for any obstructions and parked right where I wanted to. 

As I was pulling in, Windsor Abbott came over to greet us! He's 88 years old, but he never slows down! He showed the kids the walnut trees then told them that he'd sent Nancy out to see them. Every time we saw him after that, he was busy. Driving a tractor around the farm, moving something with heavy equipment, or helping with the apple cider pressing. Their website says he still puts in 60 hours a week and I don't doubt it. 

True to his word, Mrs Nancy came out of the house a short time later with a bucket and told the kids they could fill it up with all the walnuts that the tree has dropped. She's also in her 80s, but she was out there with the kids filling the bucket with any walnuts she found too. 

With the current labor shortage, the farm store isn't always able to cover their regular hours, so we made sure to get over there before they closed. Theresa's been reading the Abbott Farms website about the different apple varieties they have, and there's a special one here that we've got to try that's supposed to be really good. 

Inside there's banners showing the different items they'll have available for U-Pick and the different times of year they will be available. There's also a bakery case, ice cream case, cider, eggs, apples, and everything else you'd expect from a farm store like this. Their website said they had fudge, and the kids were excited. Looking around the store though, I didn't see any, so I handed them a bar of soap that looked a lot like fudge. They figured out my trick pretty quick though and refused to take a bite. 

We're going to be doing the U-Pick apples today. It's $5 for a half-peck bag of the Gala, Cortland, Macintosh, or Macouns, but that's not what we're after today. For $8 a half peck, you can get an apple called the SnapDragon. Curious why it was more expensive, Theresa researched them a little more. 
Ten years in the making, the SnapDragon is an apple cultivar developed by Cornell University. Normally apples developed by universities are released to growers freely, but this one was controlled. In partnership with the New York Apple Growers, these apples are licensed and growers pay royalties back to Cornell to support their apple breeding program. 
If they went through all that trouble, they better be good!

We paid our $8 for a bag and went through the doors leading to the orchard. 

The orchards are behind the farm store and they're wide open. How do they tell if you paid for SnapDragons or regular apples? The bag they give you is a different color. Hopefully you're not going down any rows picking apples that you're not supposed to. 

But before we get to picking, let's just wander the orchard for a bit. It's a beautiful day, we've been in the car for a few hours, and it'll be good to stretch our legs. Plus we're in the middle of an apple orchard surrounded by the sweet smells of apples. What more could we ask for? 

Not picking, but admiring the beautiful apples. Theresa does love plants that give her free food. 

Here we go. These are the SnapDragon apples. They are bright red! Not quite as red as the Crimson Crisp apples we tried a few weeks ago, but they are close. 

Get those high ones Ian! I'm sure they'll be good. 

Back at the RV it was time to give these a try. Can they live up to the hype? 
Honestly... YES! Wow, this is a really good apple. Probably the best one I've had, even better than a Honeycrisp. I know they're good because any time Theresa would cut one, I would grab a few slices. I don't normally do that with fruit, but these are just too good. 
The website says they have a Monster Crunch. Extra sweet with hints of vanilla and spice. Extra Juicy.
The worst part about this apple though is that they're only available in New York from what I can tell. We'll have to enjoy them while we're here. 

Back at the RV, the kids wanted to go gather more walnuts. I cracked a few of them open, they tasted them, and they're loving them. They also share Theresa's love of trees that produce free food. 
In the 1950s, these trees were gifted to the Abbotts when some of their own trees were cut down in order to widen the road that goes in front of the farm. 

Mrs Nancy was right back out there with the kids, finding dozens of walnuts and pointing them out to the kids with her cane so they could find some. I'm sure they spent 30 minutes with her picking up every walnut they saw. When the area was clear, Mrs Nancy told them that she'd search with them some more tomorrow morning. 

Let's go explore the rest of the farm! In addition to the apples, there's also some Italian Prunes. None were available for U-Pick, but Theresa bought some in the store. They tasted like regular plums to Theresa. 

There's a whole bunch of different things around here for the kids to play on. We wandered around looking for everything they could climb on top of. 

Or take pictures with. Hey, how did they do that? 

One awesome play area item they had was this giant inflated jump pillow! Similar to a trampoline, but massive! It was fun for kids and adults to jump on!

The kids have been missing their trampoline, but this was a good substitute. Ian was sad though that the sign said he couldn't do any flips. 

In the adjoining field were even more fun things to play on. These four tunnel slides were super fast! I challenged the kids to go down all four of them as fast as they could, then complete a ninja warrior obstacle course. 

Alli is the more cautious, reaching down with a foot to make sure there's a stable place to land. Ian will jump off the top tire onto the lower tire and hope for the best. 

More swings and a playground. 
Ian - Daddy, what does "Activity Wristband Required" mean? 
Ah, I think on the weekends you have to pay an entry fee to access this area. For us on a Wednesday though, we're all clear. 

Exploring the farm some more, we found the chicken coop and the cleanest, whitest chickens you've ever seen. 

Mrs Nancy is in charge of the grounds, and the place just looks beautiful. 

We could smell them before we saw them. There's grapes growing here!

Growing things make Theresa happy. 

They had a strong Concord grape smell to them.

The roses nearby smelled amazing. We always take the time to smell the roses. The kids each wanted to get picked up twice to smell this one. It was that good. 

These sheep are on a special diet and we're not allowed to feed them. We saw them being fed giant sunflowers that had been cut down. 

Drive that tractor Alli! 

While wandering over by the barn, Windsor pulled us inside to show us the tractor his daddy, Homer Abbott, bought back in 1937. It originally had steel wheels, but they had to change them out with rubber because they were going to drive it on the road. 

Gifford's Ice Cream from Maine is supposed to be fantastic, so after walking around and burning some energy, they kids each got a scoop. Alli got cookies and cream, while Ian got strawberry. I tried a taste of each and can confirm that Gifford's makes a delicious ice cream. 

You know, it's really nice that these Harvest Host places let us stay on their farms. It's awesome that Mrs Nancy is letting us pick walnuts. Let's do something to give back. 
Theresa, the kids, and I grabbed gloves and some trash bags, and spent over an hour walking around the grounds picking up trash wherever we saw it. It's crazy how much people throw on the ground. Sure there's the usual litter, but umbrellas, flip flops, entire bottles of water? This place is beautiful and seeing trash takes you out of that beauty. The kids felt really good about helping out, and it made everything look a lot nicer. 

The night in the RV was pleasant, as most nights in the RV are. It really is feeling like home. 

The next morning, Ian was so excited he couldn't sleep. He came into our room at 7am saying he was ready to go outside and collect walnuts. Not quite ready to start our day yet, we sent him back to bed. 
At 9am, he came running into our room saying someone was knocking on the door (we heard it too). Mrs Nancy has been awake since 6:30am waiting for them. The kids got dressed and headed outside to collect a bunch more. 

That's Theresa with her morning coffee helping. 

In the end, they collected almost 10 pounds of walnuts with Mrs Nancy, and it was a big highlight of their visit here. 

Smile Flowers! 

Before we go, there's one more thing we have to do! Those SnapDragon apples were so good, we've got to get more! Back out to the orchard with 2 more bags! 

At the very back of the orchard is a subdivision. I bet this smells amazing when the apple blossoms are blooming. 

Between yesterday and today, Theresa came away with nearly 20 pounds of SnapDragon apples! No complaints from me though. They were great! We'll see if any of them stick around long enough to share with any visitors we happen to have. 

Ian - Abit Farms - My favorite part was getting walnuts with mrs.Nancy. I like the bouser but sadly no flips alowd. There was a tunnel slide! I suggest going there. First I tried snap dragon they're my favorite apple. 
Alli - Abit Fram - We picked a bunch of wallnats with Nancy. Sadly ther was no fug (fudge). We played on the kids zone. I want to go back. We picked up trash. We picked apples. We got ice cream.

It's time to move on to the next stop on this adventure, but Abbott Farms was definitely a highlight! 

The kids wrote a letter to Mrs. Nancy to say thank you. 

1 comment:

  1. Abbott Farms was such a fun stopover...picking walnuts w/ Mrs. Nancy (walnuts are one of my favorite nuts), picking SUPER delicious SnapDragons (sounds amazingly delicious, especially the description), lots of energetic bouncing on the jump pillow (never saw one before), enjoying the fresh grape & rose smells, and sharing some love back by doing trash clean up (I'm sure the Abbotts greatly appreciated that gesture and touched, along w/ those wonderful thank you notes & colorful drawings by Ian & Alli). Windsor Abbott keeps on "hopping" even at 88, along with his wife, Nancy...good for them! This Harvest Host was a wonderful stay. EOM