It's early in the season for apple picking, I think, but everything was early this year - even the leaves are falling off the trees a month ahead of schedule after unfurling themselves in late March.
The day my friends and I chose to visit the farm was more like late fall - bitterly cold with a high wind - after days and days of heat and humidity.
Mary = blue feet in sandals and numb fingers peeping out from the 3/4 sleeves of a thin cotton cardi
Everybody else = winter hats, down vests, boots
Still, the view was nice.
None of the trees were marked and nobody was around to tell us what varieties of apple were growing in the orchard, but I didn't have any trouble recognizing this baby:
Russet apples are my all-time favourite. They look sort of ugly but taste oddly sweet and are only available for a short time in the fall as they are poor keepers. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.
I tried to get a variety but I mostly got russets.
See these clouds?
That's what the whole sky looked like by the time my friends and I laid down blankets and pinned them with folding chairs against the fierce wind for a determined little picnic of sandwiches and fruit. I brought chocolate-covered digestive biscuits to share. It was lovely but I was longing to wrap the one extra blanket over me the entire time.
When we paid for it all plus some local honey and Saskatoon berry jam I can't wait to try, the girl at the counter said she loved my sweater and thought it looked warm. Oh that this were true. And then we ran through the rain to the parking lot.
The next day, I started sampling apples for baking vs. eating, grating the sour ones for some muffins I was about to make.
They're all sour. Even my beloved russets - inedible. The Honeycrisps, too. I have no idea what happened - was it the weird weather in the spring that did it, the early heat and then the cold before summer settled in? Is that they needed more time to sweeten on the branches?
All I can tell you is that there is a lot of apple crisp in my future.