(Sorry John Irving. Maybe if your books weren't so fucking depressing people wouldn't need to make jokes about them to laugh through the pain. A Prayer for Owen Meany? More like A Prayer for Owen SADDIE, am I right?)
(I'll...show myself out.)
Anyway. Where was I? Oh right. Today we went apple picking, because it's fall and the weather is beautiful and there's no way you would know that Hurricaine Irma will be up in our zone by the day after tomorrow. (Though hopefully just a tropical storm by then. Floridian friends, stay safe.) My kids like to pick things (noses, fruit, and scabs, in that order), you know I have a thing about getting out of the house on the weekends, and going apple picking means a higher than average chance of getting to eat a fried apple pie, which was the best thing they had at McDonalds before they decided to change the recipe and ruined my entire life.
(When I was about nine or ten, my family and I went to Paris, where I realized that McDonalds was still making their apple pies there in the old fashioned manner--that is to say, apples in a crust cooked directly in the deep fryer, served fresh.) And honest to god I think I ate a McDonalds apple pie there just about every single day of our trip. To Paris. Fuck off, galettes des pommes, I'm eating this other, better thing right now.)
The apple orchard we went to was B. J. Reece Apple House, where we'd gone apple picking last year. B. J. Reece is located in Ellijay, GA, where all the other apple orchards are, and they have a reasonably large variety of apples that reach peak season throughout the fall. I think right now, pretty early in the season, we were picking Golden and Red Delicious, Red Romes, and Galas--though we didn't get to the Galas because they were across the road and our bags were full by the time we finished one side of the orchard.
B. J. Reece also has your standard panoply of of Farm FFamily FFFun activities, though they do nickel and dime you a la carte. $12 per peck sized back of apples, $5 per person for admission, $3 per person for the petting zoo, $2 per for the bouncing pillow. Because of this piecemeal ticketing process, the check-in process is a bit annoying (and not precisely cheap), but...I get it. They need to keep the lights on. I have no idea how these places ever really make money, frankly.
We only ended up doing the petting zoo, and the giant slide (which, thankfully, was included in the price of admission rather than a separate ticket). The petting zoo was quite nice. They had your standard animals (there are always goats), but they also had puppies and kittens (I KNOW) and a baby cow, who was not at all interested in being pet, but very cute, and will probably teach you Important Life Lessons à la City Slickers.
This chicken thinks he's FABULOUS.
Also, these asshole turkeys. Why do they always have turkeys at a petting zoo? WHO WANTS TO PET A TURKEY? LOOK AT THEM.
B. J. Reece also has a market and bakery that sells your usual stuff. Pre-picked apples, farm fresh vegetables, honey, jams and jellies, hot sauces, baked goods, boiled peanuts, popcorn, cider, that kind of thing. They also have a bit of a lunch operation, though I don't think they've fully ramped up for the season yet, as the only food they had on offer were hot dogs.
I included this because I've seen clover honey before, but...cotton honey? That's a thing? (I guess it must be. I'm no apiologist.)
One last plus of going to an apple orchard early-ish in the season is you can still try to get in your family picture for your holiday cards. These never turn out that great (because usually we take the photos ourselves, quite often using a selfie stick, which is what you do when you are too cheap and/of self-conscious to hire someone to take family photos for you), but aside from general too-sunny squintiness, I think we made out OK this year.
Now to defensively eat apples for the next three months.