Went apple picking this past Sunday. When I mentioned this to the two knuckleheads I work with, they said I was gay. It had never dawned on me that it was the slightest bit super for a straight man to pay outlandish prices to throw on a scarf and go pick fruit in the country.
I might think twice next time, but not because of that.
We drove about an hour out of the city and took an exit off the Saw Mill Parkway that was immediately choked with cars all exiting for the apple farm. Following the slow parade of optimistic New York plates in self-imposed exile snaking along the country roads, we arrived at the farm to find a huge, packed parking lot, people lined up everywhere. There was a farmstand selling homemade donuts, cider, hotdogs and popcorn with a line shooting 50 feet out of the door, a 20 minute wait. There was an even longer line to a setup of cash registers selling bags, buckets, and pickers for the apples.
The trees were picked over, the apples were tiny, and I ate so many of them that I was violently ill right off the bat. Hitting the line for the Port-a-John was out of the question because there was no toilet paper, so I hunkered down and felt my midsection slowly turn into a cider factory.
Most of the bigger apples had fallen and were rotting on the ground. This is what it looked like, except for the pristine condition of the specimens seen here:
Doug and I gave up picking and threw the rotten ones at fence poles to watch them explode. I was slowly getting sicker. We headed back to the checkout counter.
To really drive the point home, our half-bushel bag of crabapples cost $25 and their credit card machine was backed up, making me wait in line for an extra five minutes, doubled over, while my stomach was about to shit the bed.
A few lessons can be learned here. A.) You can never get far enough away from the city. B.) Country folk are savvy to the prices New Yorkers are willing to pay to get out of the city. C.) No more than 2 apples at a time, no matter their size, even when in Rome.
As much as I love NYC, this experience has made me realize how much of a number I am here. Consumer #7,128,839.
Maybe I'll be picking apples in the New England countryside next year.