Saturday, October 3, 2015

Apple Picking

We spent the day apple-picking in Oak Glen, two hours east.
This is the general store where stood in line to pay for our bags and admission to the orchard. (My husband, who spent his childhood as a migrant farmworker, had no interest in joining us to pay someone to pick produce; this is an act one is paid for, not vice versa.) A small bag was $10, a large bag was $18, and admission to the orchards was $1 per person.
The employees of the farm wear costumes to give tourists the feeling of having stepped back into the 1800s. Latex gloves and a $22 price tag on a gallon of apple cider gives away the fact that one is indeed still in the 21st century.

We visited 3 farms: Riley's Farm, Riley's Apple Farm, and Willowbrook Farm. We were supposed to pick apples at Riley's Apple Farm, but we accidentally parked at Riley's Farm and paid for our bags before we'd realized our mistake. The farms are next to each other, and were originally the same business, so one can see how that might confuse a tourist, right?
Sheep at Riley's Farm
According to a bonnet-donning employee, the farmland was all purchased by Mr. Riley in the late 1800s from Joe Wilshire, for whom Wilshire Peak is named, for the tidy sum of two chickens, $50, and a jug of whiskey.
 These wildflowers line the main road on the walk from Riley's Farm to Riley's Apple Farm.
While my daughter played with her friends in this playhouse, I sat and ate a deluxe caramel apple for lunch. It was topped with ice cream, whipped cream, and chopped nuts, and lived up to its name.
For $3, one can learn to make a corn husk doll.

After Riley's Apple Farm closed at a surprising 2:46 p.m. (surprising because the website says it's open until 4 p.m.), we walked back to Riley's Farm to fill our already-paid-for bags.
The trees were really picked over. I finally found a tree with some apples on it in the "colonial arbor," and had to climb the parking lot fence to get high enough to reach the apples. I then climbed into the tree, facing off against a swarm of bees, and hoping not to get caught by farm employees. I hadn't even considered that I might have competition. A tourist with a fruit picker was reaching his pole up into the tree from the parking lot, aiming for the same fruit I was trying to get, and - with the fruit picker - was knocking loose apples, which were conking me on the head. I wanted to yell down, "This tree is mine! I saw it first!" but I thought that I should use my energy to make sure I didn't fall out of the tree or that bees didn't fly into my t-shirt.
The best part is that my picky eater actually liked the apples enough to eat three of them before we'd made it back to Santa Monica.


  1. It looks like you had fun. The art of making husk dolls is still eluding me.

  2. We did have fun. :) Eva, what's the link to your amazing apple book list post?

  3. We went apple picking yesterday, but it was a much simpler affair. :) And now I'm thinking I'd better put up some pictures on my blog because apple picking is clearly not the same everywhere...

    1. LOL. Please do, Nelleke! Clearly not the same! :)