Honey Hills: Apple picking in the middle of nowhere

It’s October, which means it is most solidly fall. I love fall. It’s cold, but still rather mild. It’s sweater weather, spiced pumpkin weather; It’s mulled apple cider weather. And it is also, most decidedly, apple picking season.

Unfortunately, this year, apples in the Midwest are actually in a shortage due to an early bloom and then a late frost. But, that didn’t stop me and a couple of friends from going apple picking.

We went to Honey Hill Orchards in the middle of no where Illinois. Since it was closer to the suburbs than the Loop, we took the amtrak out to the burbs. Unfortunately got off at the wrong stop, but landed in the middle of this beautiful rich suburb. I forgot how beautiful the suburbs are.
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They have fancy fountains here.

The orchard itself was quite lovely.
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It was a little lovely idyllic outpost of an orchard. The Orchard shop had a number of very cute and home-y products for sale.’

Apparently they make their own honey.
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We ended up packing lunch (onigiri + kimchi fried rice) to eat at the orchard before heading out to pick some apples.
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And also got some fresh apple donuts.
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warm, doughy torus of goodness.

This old fella wanted some too!
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So began the apple picking with some pumpkins!
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I eventually bought one home. Haven’t done anything with it yet. Considering carving it and scooping out the innards to make fresh pumpkin gnocchi.

The orchard is a beautiful place.
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And you’ll notice that the apples aren’t as big or bright looking as the ones you’ll buy in the supermarket.
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They’re fresher and sweeter. They don’t have that plastic waxy sheen as the ones in the supermarket.

A nesting apple!
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And you also find little pockets of beauty lying around that you just don’t notice in the city.
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And since it’s also squash season…
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But probably the best part yet to come is the fresh apple pie that comes along with the apple picking.
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Seriously, this pie was perfect.
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It was really a magnificent apple pie. The crust was so flaky and buttery. The apples, not too sweet, and fresh too. Just perfect. I have yet to taste a better crust than the one my old roommate Miranda makes.

Wonderful way to end the day.
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