A Bushel and a Peck

Photo Credit: Parshallville Cider Mill

I let the dogs out early this morning and was gently touched by a beautifully cool, and crisp blast of air.  It reminded me of the gorgeous autumn days growing up in Michigan. I recall quite vividly how it wasn't quite warm enough for the air conditioner to be turned on, nor was it even cold enough for the heater.  I tiptoed out of bed on those glorious Saturday mornings, across a fall-chilled bedroom floor to seek out a thick, cozy sweater to don over a pair of warm, soft corduroys.  I'm still a sweater girl to this day, though I opt for a more sheer knit in this den of hot, sweaty September weather we get here in Texas.

Fall in Michigan meant packing the family in the car early on a Saturday morning, and driving up the road to our prized Parshallville Cider Mill, or as the locals called it, the Grist Mill.  Parshallville, a quaint little town, has an original mill that to this day, still serves fresh, hot apple cider and doughnuts to long lines of people.  We waited in anticipation to be able to sit near the river and dunk the spicy sugar and cinnamon doughnuts into the hot cider and warm our tummies for a long fall color drive. There is nothing in the world like it.

The place was amazing.  Schools took us there as children for a tour at the beginning of the school year so we could see how the apples were chopped up, wrapped in a sort of muslin, and pressed between many boards by the massive machine.  This cider had a sort of miniscule 'pulp' to it that simply cannot be duplicated in the store-bought pasteurized and filtered garbage we get in Texas. Oh and mulling this magical cider improved it beyond your wildest dreams.

Fall was a time to go apple picking as well.  Michigan apples are simply to die for when picked fresh, and we did that every year, coveting our bushel as we made apple crisp, and apple pie for Thanksgiving.

There were many nearby orchards where we could pick, but my best friend lived near Spicer Orchards or Spicer's as we called it, where we often picked a half bushel or just a peck and couldn't wait to bite into that fabulous flesh. 

Photo Credit: Spicer Orchards

The best orchards grew our prized Macintosh apples for the best apple pie ever.  In Michigan, we knew our apples.

I remember making homemade caramel with my bff Terri in her tiny little home on Clyde Road and dipping our freshly picked apples in that gooey goodness.  I still have that recipe written down in my cookbook to this day.

After finishing our cider and doughnuts, no fall could possibly be complete without a day trip down the winding country roads as majestic maples, elms, and oaks towered over the road, enveloping us in a maze of brilliant yellow, orange, and ruby red patterns.  I remember well, each twist ,turn, or hill in the road brought more oohs and ahhs as we never ceased to be amazed of God's beautiful patchwork quilt.

Photo Credit:  michpics.wordpress.com

It never fails, every fall I wake up on at least one cool Saturday morning and spend a little time reminiscing about apples of yore. As with every year, some of my Facebook friends find their way to Parshallville and this morning was no exception.  As I made my way through the Facebook posts, they make me jealous and homesick for a cool, crisp fall day in the lovely Michigan woods.