When Life Hands You Apples: reblogged from Fall 2011

19 Sep





As apple picking season is once again upon us, I am reposting this piece on my experience at Harvest Moon Orchards last year. Now keep in mind, this was a year ago, and maybe they’ve made some adjustments before this season. In any case, consider yourself warned! 

Yesterday my family and I ventured a few exits up 684 to Harvest Moon Orchards for what we expected to be a fun, relaxing, sunny Sunday of apple picking. You know, the kind that starts with empty bags and an apple picker in hand and ends with apples galore and warm cider donuts? Mmmm.

Well if that’s the experience you’re looking for, you might want to consider avoiding Harvest Moon Orchards in North Salem. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they’ve apparently done TOO much promotion. Everyone and their 3rd cousin will be there. We spent 45 minutes trying to get off the exit from 684 – all traffic was heading to Harvest Moon and Outhouse Orchards. As we crawled toward the orchard (1/2 mile from the exit), my 14-month old grew bored, and my husband’s agitation grew. I spent the next 20 minutes (to go 1/2 a mile) singing “The Wheels on the Bus” to my 14 month old and trying to convince my hubby not to turn around and leave. I joked to my husband that by the time we got there, they might be out of apples. Foreshadowing, perhaps?

After finally arriving and parking (a feat in and of itself), we headed over to the “orchard” line. Etiquette was not on anyone’s minds, as strollers and parents pushed ahead, cutting in line to get their $25 bags. Yes, you heard correctly. $25 for a bag of apples. Sure, it’s an experience to go apple picking, and you pay for the experience. I get it. But twenty five dollars? Sheesh.

They were out of apple pickers, and told us to get one from someone up in the orchard. What this meant is we had to “bribe” someone to give us theirs. They demanded $5 from us, even though they had only paid $2.50 (of which they would have gotten their money back upon return). Black market apple pickers? Check, check.

So that leads me to why the apple pickers were so necessary. The orchard was practically picked dry. Nary an apple in sight, unless you count the ones that were at the tippy tops of the trees. All of that excitement about letting my 14 month old pick apples off a tree himself was diminished. Boo hoo. We managed to find one apple that was reachable. Baby bear was thrilled. We even snapped a few pics of him reaching for it, as we knew it was the only shot we’d get.

This, coupled with the fact that it was 95 degrees at 3pm, and it was a bit of a lackluster experience. And then, that’s when it happened. I looked to my left and saw a child, squatting, pants down around his ankles, as he pooped. In the orchard. With his mother sitting next to him, not doing a thing about it.

Now, this is certainly no fault of Harvest Moon. One can’t expect them to police their every guest. No, this was purely a disgusting, idiotic move on the part of a lazy, classless parent who thought it was okay to shit where people eat. Literally.

As we left the orchard and headed back down to the farm area, the line for apple cider donuts, which an hour earlier wrapped all the way around the building, had not shortened. Kids were going berserk, parents were yelling. It was a sight for sore, hungry eyes. Apparently, this place is more like an amusement park than a low key Northern Westchester farm.

And as such, no donuts were had.

Lesson learned? Let the traffic getting off the highway be an indication of trouble ahead. And go pick your apples elsewhere. Like anywhere far enough from the city to discourage day-trippers. Consider this my PSA for the week!


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