How do you stock your pantry for the dark winter months ahead if, like us, you aren't living full-time on your homestead or you don't have the space or option to garden where you are?
Our solution? "Pick Your Own" farms. We are fortunate enough to have several orchards near us that offer very reasonable rates for gleaning your own fruits. We try to take advantage of these as often as we are able. We've mostly had success in getting loads and loads of apples and pumpkin but ours also offer pears, peaches, strawberries and cherries in season.
here to see if there are any in your area; then grab your family and as many friends as would like to tag along before heading to the closest farm or orchard. Once there, you generally will be directed to the farm store or produce stand where you will be able to chose the amount you'd like to pick (for example: 25lbs is our standard but we could choose to get multiple 25lb bags and fill those if we wanted to.) Once you make your selection you pay up and head out into the orchard. The experience will vary depending on how large the operation is. We have a mix of farms near us so some of them are relatively small and offer only a few varieties but others have a wide range available and require a drive-through in order to access the portions you want to pick from. A map depicting the farm's layout and their varieties is generally available where you pay, make sure to grab one! And that's about it, you get your bags and stuff them as full as you possibly can, put them in your car and head on home. We've canned apple wedges, apple pie filling and apple sauce; not to mention dehydrating apple slices for snacking as well as drying the peels to use in tea. We've also picked our own pie pumpkins from the pumpkin patch and made pie filling as well as canned pumpkin chunks.
|a small part of our pick-your-own apple bounty|
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