One moment of falling in love in the fall.
Apple-picking is truly, so very much like life.
You never know whether you will find sweet or sour apples,
but in the end, no matter how long it takes,
your bag will be filled with the sweetest apples.
For the past two years, autumn in New York has been synonymous with two highlight calendar events for us: (i) day trips to the verdant Hudson Valley for apple-picking adventures, and (ii) the festive bounty of Thanksgiving. Of the former, the day always began with a meeting under the green stars of Grand Central station terminal. It was then kickstarted with a hurried trot as soon as the railway track number was announced, followed by hustling with fellow passengers to get the coveted left-hand-side window seats. It continued with a two-hour-something chug along the banks of the Hudson, intermittently glimpsing the river glinting silver in the daylight. Then, a 15-20 minute local taxi ride from train station to the orchard grounds. Some orchards either implemented a pay-for-what-you-pick system (i.e. by weight), or they offered bags of varying sizes to be filled up for a prepaid amount. There were at times, hay rides and farm animals for the children (and the young-at-heart adults), dancing corn mazes, and fields strewn with pumpkins and their gourd relatives screaming to be carved for Halloween week around the corner. But the highlight of each visit were the apples, of course.
Apple-picking adventures in the Hudson Valley were for these Dessert Correspondents, the beginning of a love story. No matter what happened later, we will always remember those apple-picking day trips as the few moments of falling into a dream of the possibility of an enduring love.
We will always remember skipping through the avenues of apple trees – an encyclopaedic galore of gala, macintosh, macoun, granny smith, crispin, jona gold, golden delicious, red delicious, honeycrisp, mutsu, empire – grasping at orbs of sunbeam yellow, garnet red or bicolour beauties, taking a crunch here and a chomp there. We will always remember that time when we cast a picnic blanket in a secluded spot in the orchard, laid down and just watched the clouds drift overhead, murmuring our castles-in-the-clouds dreams, the sun peeping through golden leaves, and the sounds of the farm a distant whisper in the rustle of the apple trees. We will always remember that time we climbed to the top of a hill, gazed down at the orchard behind and the valley beyond – a horizon of impossible blue, a foreground carpeted in a patchwork of jade, copper, topaz, amber, and carnelian hues, not a skyscraper in sight, nor the shrill wail of an ambulance or police car in earshot.
And, we will always remember our first bite of apple cider doughnuts, the cinnamon sugar scattering in the cool autumnal breeze as we whipped them out in excitement, piping hot from their paper bags. Doughnuts at their original best. We will always remember all those moments of falling in love in a New York fall.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination:two apple orchards are pictured in the above, in order:
- ☑ Budget:$.
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Doughnuts.
- ☑ Must-eat: Apple cider doughnuts.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: One moment of falling in love in the fall.