An Apple (Or Two) A Day

SoleburyWhen I was a kid, I thought there were only three kinds of apples: red, yellow, and green, which it turns out were Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith, respectively. Nothing else was available.

These days, for my kids, a “red” apple isn’t a Red Delicious. Nor is it really red. Honeycrisp, Gala, Braeburn, and Stayman Winesap, for example, are varying mixtures of red, yellow, and green. These varieties, and many others, are now easy to find at the store. It’s more fun to pick them from the tree, though. There’s nothing better than a sunny fall day at the orchard.

thumbnail of fancy nancy (329x500)Recently, to commemorate the season, we read Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy: Apples Galore! (I Can Read! Level 1), in which our fictional friend Nancy visits an apple orchard on a class trip. They pick loads of Jonathan and Honeycrisp apples, but Nancy hopes to find Gala, which she assumes is a fancy type of apple because “a gala is a fancy party.” It also happens to be her father’s favorite variety. My daughters enjoyed the story and reminisced about their own class trip to an orchard earlier this month. When Lionel, Nancy’s trip buddy, ignores the rules and gets himself into trouble, one of my daughters recalled how her own buddy decided unilaterally to play hide-and-seek at the orchard. I’m so glad I wasn’t a chaperone!

So far, our family has visited our favorite orchard four times this season. It’s a fun activity that gets the kids outdoors, teaches them where our food comes from, and encourages them to eat more fresh fruits. I’d love to say that I bake all kinds of delicious apple treats, but apart from the occasional apple crisp, which is the easiest dessert to make in the entire world, I haven’t done much baking this season. So, basically, we eat a lot of apples, often more than one per day.*

While I doubt “an apple (or two) a day will keep the doctor away” for long during cold and flu season, there does seem to be weight to this proverb, the earliest version of which was recorded in the 1860s. Science backs up the long-term health benefits of apples. Studies suggest that apples may help maintain weight loss, alleviate inflammation, reverse or halt cognitive decline in normal aging, and reduce the risk of asthma, stroke, certain cancers, and cardiovascular disease, among other potential health benefits.

My kids, of course, don’t care about any of these benefits. They are typical kids with typical tastes, and so far, they haven’t tried an apple they didn’t like. I wonder what they would’ve thought about the overproduced, super-sweet “red” apples I used to eat as a kid. It was good when I didn’t know any better.

*We also give a lot of apples away.

**If anyone’s ever in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area, I highly recommend visiting Solebury Orchards. All of the pictures in this post were taken there.

  Gala (500x334) Jonagold (500x375)


  1. I live in Apple Country myself (in the Netherlands, the area around where I live is full of apple and pear farms – it isn’t actually called Apple Country, that’s just my name for it). They have days when you can go pick apples, but I’ve never tried. For kids it’s a fun thing to do – imagine, food that grows on trees!

    1. Your area must be lovely! Lots of people around here grow apples in their backyards, but I’m a half hour away from my closest orchard and nearly an hour away from the orchard we frequent the most. Kids definitely love apple picking, particularly on shorter trees with lots of low hanging fruit. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. We’ve made it to the orchard only once, but as we’ve run out of apples I hope one more trip can be squeezed in – this post might just be the motivation, thanks! PS I’ve passed on some sunshine for you this morning at Femme au Foyer…

  3. Lovely pictures. Cider-making is an old Jersey industry that has all but died out, though it’s making a comeback through the replanting of orchards. I’m sorry to say that the cider is of more interest to the Jerseyman than the raw product.

        1. That’s interesting. There seem to be new varieties of apples each year (and only a small percentage have any commercial potential), but it’s sad that the older varieties might be disappearing.

    1. Thanks! I wonder if there’s a difference between the varieties available in NYS versus here. I imagine it’s similar, but maybe there are local favorites.

  4. Mmm, I love Gala apples. I’m not sure what variety my parents grow in their backyard, but they’re smaller and a little tart and 100% delicious. Great for juicing, eating, and apple pie baking. I definitely want an apple tree in my future backyard. And I can’t wait to read Fancy Nancy with my own kids someday in the future. 😀 Love your pics!

    1. Oh, the apples in your parents’ backyard sound delicious! Tart apples are my favorite. Lately, I’ve been eating Topaz apples, which are tart but will probably sweeten and mellow out in flavor over time. I would love to grow an apple tree in my backyard, but it’s already heavily wooded (and I just won’t cut down any of those trees) and a bit too shady.

      1. I’d have a hard time cutting down trees too. They just take sooo long to mature. But I’d cut down pines. I loathe pines. I’m a big fall leaves gal and pines are the bane of my fall viewing existence. Seriously, if the pine was 50 feet tall, I’d still chop it down. 😉 I like pines in the forest, sure, just not in my yard. Not that I have one.

        Topaz eh? I wonder if we have those around. Mostly locally we have Jonathan, Pink Lady, and the typical red D, granny, fuji, gala. Mmm, this is making me hungry for apples. 🙂

        1. Ha ha! Pines are a bit dull in the fall, but I appreciate evergreens in the winter (particularly because they block our view of the road all year round).

    1. Thank you! We’ve been blueberry picking, but not strawberry picking. I just can’t trust that my youngest won’t eat more than she puts in the basket! She can’t resist strawberries. 🙂

  5. What a lovely family tradition to have! As a child, I went apple picking once a season with my family. Despite getting covered in poison ivy, I still looked forward to the event every year. I still look fondly back on these memories and smile at the laughter and fun. Your daughters will appreciate these moments so much as they grow up!

    1. There isn’t much the deer won’t eat! We have a very large family of deer living in the heavily wooded township property adjacent to us. I can’t grow anything except daffodils and a handful of other so-called “deer resistant” plants (though the deer sometimes snack on them too).

      I hope you had a nice weekend!

  6. I haven’t been apple picking in years but this made me want to go. This weekend should be perfect for it too, thanks for the link to the orchard!

      1. I did! I have since made 3 pies and 2 pork dishes along with eating apples every day. It was a lovely day for it and getting to try new apple varieties is always interesting. Thank you again, it was a wonderful way to spend a fall day.

    1. Thanks! What’s nice about books that complement fun activities is that they reinforce the vocabulary we try to teach our girls through those activities. Fancy Nancy is particularly good for learning new words related to certain themes (foliage, autumn, etc).

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