The Monkey clan went apple picking today. It was sort of a spur of the moment thing. We wanted to get out of the city, be with Nature, and have fun!
To a New York expat, Fall is associated with apple picking. However, because apple trees require frigid-cold winter, apple orchards are hard to come by in Southern California. But once an idea is seeded in my brain, I can’t settle for anything else. A family meeting ensued, and we all agreed that our expedition was going to be an organic apple orchard so that we can eat the fruits as we pick them.
Lo and behold, MK found us The Stetson Creek Ranch which is about a 2+ hours drive, one way.
The scenic drive towards San Bernardino National Forest Mountains was magnificent. Once we reached the entrance of the orchard, we had to go off on a rather rugged dirt road for another two miles. Although it allowed two-way traffic, it was technically a single-lane road. Our excitement and sense of adventure escalated as we followed the apple signs and bumped our windy way into the orchard.
A friendly lady welcomed us and gave us each a long wooden handle apple picker. She also warned us about the BEARS that love to visit the orchard.
“There are BEARS here?” I asked incredulously.
“Of course, we are surrounded by National Forest AND we have apples. Those bears sure love our apples!”
“Humm… so what do we do if we see a bear?” I asked the next logical question.
“The bears sleep during the day, plus my husband is armed. Don’t worry!” she reassured me, and gave me a broad smile.
Her armed husband, unfortunately, was nowhere to be seen. I mentally calculated how loud I would have to scream to alert her husband. But ok, we did ask to be with Nature and drove a long way to pick ourselves some organic apples this weekend. We selected the size of our bag (half-bushel for $25) and off we went, bear or no bear!
In the backdrop of the glorious forest mountain, we soon forgot about the bear warning. The Monkey clan was giddy with delight, as we were surrounded by these magnificent trees pregnant with apples. The apple picker was very easy to use. Soon we were harvesting all over the orchard, eating our fruits as we walked, filling our half-bushel bag in no time.
After our bellies and bag were happily filled with fragrant, freshly picked Rome apples, we chatted with our friendly Apple Lady and praised her gorgeous orchard. We were told that Mr Richard Stetson acquired the original livestock ranch, situated in the San Bernardino National Forest in the early 1900’s. With its 5,700 feet elevation, rich soil, and plenty of snow in the winter, the Stetsons planted many apple trees, including Rome, Winesep, Stayman, Red Delicious, and others. For over 100 years, this apple orchard grew without any use of pesticides.
Plumster asked if we can return next weekend…despite the 4+ hour round-trip. Aha! Now you know that these apples are good. As much as we like to be with Nature, 4+ hour drive is definitely not on our weekly weekend agenda. We will, however, definitely return next Fall and make our annual Apple Pilgrimage as part of our Monkey family tradition.
Stetson Creek Ranch: http://www.stetsoncreekranch.com/