I had an enormous amount of fun last Saturday when I went to an apple orchard with my friends Bethany and Teresa.
It was cold and a little rainy, but very autumnal and very lovely. The orchard to which we went, Minnesota Harvest, is in its last year of business, which is a real shame. It's a beautiful place.
I went there last year with my daycare kids and their families; back then, they offered trail rides, a petting zoo, hot food, tons of local goods (jams, jellies, honey, cookbooks, et cetera) All that was gone, and it was a bit sad to see it so barren this year. But they did still offer all the available apples for tasting.
In the end, amongst the three of us, we ended up with about 60 pounds of apples. I took 20 pounds and the ever ambitious Bethany took 40.
I took my apples to my mom and said "Let's do something with these guys." And now I have three jars of apple butter and eight jars of applesauce which I have placed in my freezer, because that seems less annoying than canning. On the subject of applesauce, I recommend trying it in the same meal as cottage cheese. A winning combination.
As we were leaving to orchard, to the left we saw what appeared to be an airplane hangar painted the brightest yellow you've ever seen. Unable to pass up an opportunity like that, we all immediately agreed we should go see what it was. Turns out it is "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store". This candy store boasts either 57 or 87 kinds of licorice (there was some conflicting signage). To be fair, only about half of the store is candy. The rest is bacon, apples, pies, locally made hot sauce and the like. Also, 20 or so kinds of root beer. Because of the awesome variety, we decided to go for a choose your own six-pack deal and have a tasting later in the evening. After supper. At "Suzette's".
The funniest little restaurant ever. Its menu boasts things like chicken mousse and cranberry pork, but the atmosphere suggests a diner whose specialty is the world's greatest cup of crap coffee. It was a very good meal and afterward we returned to Bethany's house for our root beer tasting.
The winner of the root beer tasting competition was Henry Weinhard's Root Beer. It had everything we were looking for; it was indeed, as the company says, a "gourmet elixir, brewed with sassafras, vanilla and honey..." They also use only the "highest quality ingredients". I think it's so good because they use only the highest quality phosphoric acid. But seriously, it was delicious. If I had one here now, I'd be on that root beer like...
wait for it...
ants on an apple.