Monday, 17 September 2012

Campbell's Orchards / Apple Picking

    Tradition.  For our family tradition is extremely important.  It connects our past to our present and to our future.  It gives us something to look forward to and then beautiful memories.  One of our favourite family traditions is Campbell's Orchards.  For the last 15 years we have been been taking our kids to Campbell's.  It means the beauty of fall, the beauty of family, and Christopher gorging himself on apples (then complaining because he feels sick because he has gorged himself on apples).

Wilbur the Pig is one of Rowan's favourite
parts of visiting Campbell's.
    Our family has been coming to pick apples at Campbell's for the last 15 years.  We began coming when Gabe was just 2 and a half.  It was his first year in nursery school, and the nursery school went for a class trip.  I had never been before that.  Over those 15 years things have only really changed a little, and I like that, I do not like change.  Every year we go and pick apples as a family affair.  My parents meet us there every year.  Every Christopher and I pick our apples in our designated rows, while my Mom runs all through the rows looking for the "biggest, and best apples".

    To me picking apples is quasi religious.  I feel so close to the earth, to the past when I pick apples.  There is that amazing fresh sweet smell, that is only found in apple orchards.  As we pick our apples, we can only pick with one hand, because the other hand contains an apple.  There is no taste quite as good or as fresh as  the apple just picked from the tree.  It is the same as anything, as soon as it is off the tree, it begins to loose it's flavour.  The warm juice runs down your arm, often spraying the person beside you.  It is glorious!  For me apple picking is the beginning of fall, the beginning of my mother earth stage.  I make apple crisp as soon as we get home, and then start making homemade bread and rolls and soups.  I become that mother that I want to be all year, but eventually run out of steam.

   This year we saw a fresh new face.  The young man above was an absolute pleasure.  He was funny and energetic.  He showed us the rows the we were "supposed to pick".  I warned him about my mother's trick of jumping rows.  There are times that I have caught her up ladders.  We loose site of her as she wanders looking for the best apples.  To Mom the rule breaking is part of the fun (I'm sure that she would deny this and say that she just likes the best apples).  He was so funny, as he walked away he turned quickly and gave Mom the old "I've got my eyes on you", fingers to eyes gesture.  That caused peels of laughter from all of us.  If the Campbell's are smart, they will keep this employee around and happy for a long time.  It is because of amazing service, as well as tradition that keeps us coming back.

   The other important part of our Campbell's tradition is our hay ride.  They offer hay rides on Sundays.  I LOVE hay rides!  The rhythm of the wagon is so relaxing.  The joy I feel when I look at my kids sitting on those bales of hay, with big contented grins on their faces is priceless.  I get that all is right with the world feeling on a hay ride.  For the last number of years we have had the same tracker driver (the man in the picture above).  He is that welcome face of familiarity.  The tractor drives us around the farm.  It is amazing to see the size and great beauty of the farm.  One of our favourite parts of the wagon ride, other that the ride itself is when the driver stops the tractor and we jump off to pick an apple.  The funny thing is that we have already gorged ourselves on apples when were picking, but somehow this apple always tastes better.  After we have picked our apple we scramble back onto the wagon.  It's the best!

    We had an amazing day on Sunday.  The weather was beautiful.  We were all together.  The world just felt right.  As we drove home Christopher let out a big sigh.  "That was great day".  He had this contented smile on his face.  "I wish that everyday could be that simple."  I have to agree with my husband on that one,  I also wish that every day could be that simple, that content.  That is what I like about our tradition, you always know what to expect.  You always know that you will leave with a huge bag of apples, and amazing family memories.

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