Christi and I chose an idyllic fall day to embark on the All-American “seasonal” pastime of apple-picking.
Having a short-window in southern California for showcasing our winter wardrobes, we busted out our scarves, boots and hats and hit the open road. Armed with steaming coffee, a basketful of road trip snacks and two teenagers in the back to help us capture all of our candid apple-picking shots, we looked forward to the day ahead.
Our destination was Julian, California which is a small rustic town located in the mountains one hour east of San Diego. Julian’s roots date back to the 1870’s and the Gold Rush days. Today Julian is most famous for apples and scrumptious apple pie but attracts visitors who enjoy its charming appeal, multiple offerings from afternoon tea to wine tasting to mining tours, and its four seasons, a rarity in southern California.
A little more than two hours into our drive, we pulled into a quaint orchard, instantly noticing ours was the only car in the gravelly lot. With our enthusiasm still at full mast, we strode into the office to get our apple-picking baskets envisioning ourselves gracefully plucking apples from hundred year-old trees.
We were met by a tall gentleman working at the orchard who informed us, “apple picking season is over and the orchard is closed.” Not to be discouraged and hoping to slightly ingratiate ourselves, we listened attentively to a very detailed explanation of apple-picking, why the season ends, when the season begins, how sustainable farming works, etc., etc… We in turn talked about our blog, the drive we made all the way out here and how we really, really, really needed to pick apples. We might have begged a little. I’m pretty sure we did. But you know, it takes five NO’s to get to a YES and we got our YES.
Christi and I scampered out to the orchard and filled our bags with apples of all sizes and colors from golden to deep red. And let me tell you, the apples are delicious – crunchy, crisp, full of flavor and possibility. We finished our picking and hopped back in the car to explore Julian. It is a charming and quaint town with a pace that feels unhurried. We strolled up and down the main street, ate lunch in a cute bistro and headed home. On the way out of town we hit the Julian Pie Company with thoughts of Thanksgiving and beautiful pies (check that off the list) being served for dessert.
Having lived in California my whole life, the visit to Julian was a completely new experience. What a little treasure right in our own backyard. The slow pace, tranquil setting, beautiful scenery and quality “friend” time made it worth the trip…apple-picking season or NOT!
If you plan on visiting Julian, we recommend you visit during the “Julian Apple Days,” and have an idea of which orchards you want to visit (see orchard guide here). The Apple Days coincide with the fall harvest of the Julian apples which occur from September through Mid-October or “whenever all the apples are gone!”
This week on Cashmere Apron, we will feature two of our favorite recipes made with our very own, hand-picked Julian apples!