I Cast a Web… WebCast, that is!
I spent the day exploring two orchards in northern Westchester this past weekend, Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard, and Outhouse Orchards, both family-owned.
Thankfully, the latter did not live up to its name!
Yes, I cringed and was repelled by the name, at first. I came to find out that “Outhouse” is actually a family name! The orchard dates back to the 1800’s. It is now run by Wayne Outhouse, son of A. Purdy Outhouse whose father founded it. (I know… it’s difficult not to giggle at the thought of a pretty outhouse!)
Funny, scatological references aside, I can tell you that it exceeded expectations!
The orchards were conveniently located directly across from one another. Each had its own unique qualities and activities to offer.
The journey from the 125th Street Metro-North Station to Croton Falls was quite relaxing. I managed to snag a window seat and I watched with great pleasure as the tall, gray skyscrapers transformed into towering trees, dressed with leaves that displayed the most beautiful and vibrant red-orange colors of autumn. I could almost feel my olfactory sense awakened by the aroma exuded by these majestic trees.
The view from the window was stunning. I was in awe and enjoyed the splendor of mountains upon mountains of green. I crossed flowing rivers, lakes and creeks, and passed through quaint little towns, all within the hour and a half sojourn.
Upon arrival, my friends and I were directed to a jocular man in a vest who was in charge of the car service that took visitors from the train station to the orchards.
Our driver was a lovely, older gentleman by the name of Frank. We engaged in small talk about the simple lifestyle shared by those living in the peaceful suburban neighborhoods we drove through.
Frank dropped us off in front of Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard. I paid him the very reasonable $5 fare and got out of the car, taking in my surroundings. I sighed.
The air was crisp, the dirt roads easy to trod, and the atmosphere was, in a cliché word, great! I was in Autumnal bliss. My first mission was to get food in my stomach. A slice of plain toast for breakfast did not prepare me for the day. I walked past hordes of families and friends, to the famous doughnut stall. Their demeanor and laughter were infectious. What a great time!
I had heard a lot about the Apple Cider doughnuts at Harvest Orchard – what better time to get some? As I was waiting my turn, I saw a sign that read “Limit of 2 dozen per customer”. Who would or could possibly eat so many doughnuts, I wondered aloud. The lady behind the counter motioned for me to come over. I ordered the cinnamon sugar doughnut. It was hot and fresh out of the oven. I must say that it may have been the best thing I have ever spent $0.75 on in my life!
One bite transported me to heaven. The doughnut was incredibly soft and creamy. Its warmth was perfectly juxtaposed with the cold winds against my face. The sweet cinnamon sugar stuck to my lips much like lip gloss. A welcome feeling, not a bad thing! The flavor was intoxicating. That bite alone was enough to make me understand why there was a two dozen limit on the doughnuts.
However, doughnuts were not going to be enough to satiate my appetite. I settled on eating a grilled cheese and apple sandwich. I walked towards a bale of hay and sat and listened to a great cover band play while I ate. They were really talented and drew quite a large crowd.
As I was enjoying the music and the ambience, my mind switched over into work mode and I thought about how amazing it would have been to WebCast their performance to others who were not lucky enough to be here. It would have been great marketing for the orchards and for the band itself.
My mind raced ahead and I envisioned them being picked up by a label as a result of the publicity generated by the American Movie Company, for whom I work.
After buying a bottle of water to keep hydrated, I trekked across the street and up the hill to Outhouse Orchards. I was most excited about navigating through the corn maze. I walked past the pumpkin patch and a live band aptly named “The Skeletons”. After walking at a good pace for about 15 minutes, I reached the top of the hill, where the corn maze was located. A group of teenage boys were collecting the $7 fee and handing out maps. I paid my fare and went on to get lost amid the dense rows of corn stalks. I spent about half an hour navigating the winding paths towards the exit. This may sound strange, but I am unashamed. At times, I purposely got lost just to enjoy the solitude. The cornstalks were short enough for me to catch a glimpse of the beautiful scenery downhill. Once I exited, I snapped a few photos and headed to the apple picking station to buy myself a bag and pick apples.
To my dismay, the young woman there informed me, that the trees had been picked off clean. I would, therefore, end up picking apples out of the crates. Boo! Hiss! I didn’t come all this way to pick apples from crates, I thought to myself.
Dejected, I waved her farewell and walked towards the pumpkin patch. The sign above the row of pumpkins read, $0.79 per pound. Really? For a pumpkin? A mere pittance! Now that was a deal I couldn’t refuse! I had to remind myself, however, that I would not be able to fit a large pumpkin in my city apartment.
I walked around, gleefully listening to the musical stylings of “The Skeletons”. I selected the perfect small pumpkin, just large enough for carving, for an equally small fee of $1.23.
I descended the hill, pumpkin in hand, picked up a half gallon of apple cider along the way. Found myself back at Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard. I was determined not to leave without picking at least one apple.
Confidently, I walked up to the woman selling bags for apple picking and inquired about their apple supply.
Fortuitously, she was the manager of the orchards. I saw a chance to further my career and I took it. I introduced myself, gave her my business card and expanded upon the many cinematic services, including WebCasting offered by the American Movie Company. We discussed it at length and she expressed her interest in the possibility of WebCasting in the future.
I told her of my disappointment at not actually picking apples from a tree. She said there would be slim pickings (pun intended) if I were willing to walk 15 minutes into the orchard.
Undaunted, I accepted the challenge and headed into the orchard in search of hanging apples. I implored one of the men who worked in the orchard to direct me toward the spot where there might still be a few elusive apples and he pointed downhill.
I followed his directions and soon happened upon trees laden with McIntosh apples! I picked a small one, polished it on my shirt and took a bite. The crunchiness of the apple was unlike anything else. It was succulent and bursting with flavor. Its juice ran down my hands as if I were eating a ripe plum. I savored the taste of it. I filled my apple bag within 20 minutes. I reverted to being a child thoroughly enjoying this fun activity.
The sun was beginning to set, and so it was time to leave Eden, but not before picking up half a dozen of those amazing cinnamon sugar donuts.
Elated, I walked back to the taxi station and found Frank there. I offered and he accepted a dougnut. I took the train back into the wild city and my humble abode.
The day was wonderful… all that I experienced and the people I met… these are the, uh, stuff that dreams are made of. Am glad I can find pleasure in the simple things. Pure joy!
I will return next year with a film crew geared up for a WebCasting gig.
I must make it a point to go Upstate earlier, perhaps in September to ensure I will find copious amounts of apples.
At the core, planning is essential!
WebCasting at Apple and Pumpkin Orchards Upstate! Next Year!