Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Appley Adventure

As of September 22nd autumn has officially arrived. Sure here in Southern California the sun is still shining, the leaves are not falling, and temperatures are still soaring in the upper 90 degree range but all that weathery stuff aside, according to my calendar it is now fall which brings to mind one awesome apply autumn event in particular.

Harvest Days in Julian!

Having been excitedly anticipating apple picking for months now I decided heat wave or not I was going to head up to Julian for the first weekend of the harvest. After a delicious fall breakfast of homemade pumpkin scones my favorite apple picking companion and I headed east, through the hills and curvy roads to the cute little town of Julian. Our first stop was Main Street to peruse the town in search of gluten free snacks. Most of the shops and restaurants in town have been there as long as I can remember, the Julian Cider Mill on the corner of Main and B is one such place.

The Cider Mill is of course known for their delicious apple cider. For a $1 you can get a cup of cold cider in the store to sip while you shop and on brisk fall and winter days they sell hot cider out front of the store which is the perfect sweet fall treat to enjoy while strolling through the town. They also have jugs of cold apple or apple berry cider available in the store for sale so you can take some of their delicious cider home with you.

In addition to cider the Mill sells all sorts of delicious snacks and spreads. Nuts, candies, dried fruits, teas and mixes. Their apple butter and pumpkin butters are heavenly and the perfect topping for muffins and toast.

I opted not to buy my usual jar of apple butter this year because I am hoping to try and make my own with some of the apples picked from this trip. Instead we bought some dried peaches, papaya spears, and lemon chili pistachios to snack on during our drive home later.

Next stop was a cute little restaurant called Cow Girl Café. They offer an array of sandwiches, soups, burgers and salads. They also have a few vegan friendly options as well, BBQ riblets and gardenburgers (a former gluten laden favorite of mine!). As far as gluten free eats you could get a salad without the dressing or a sandwich sans bread (or bring your own and ask that they use it for you). We were still a bit full from our scone breakfast so we opted for a sweet treat instead.

Apple cider + vanilla ice cream. Normally I prefer my cider hot but this Apple Cider Float was the perfect cool, appley beverage for a hot summerfall day.

After wandering our way through the town on foot we hopped back in the car and made our way to Julian Orchards Drive for some apple picking. There are a handful of orchards along this road, we had originally hoped to go to Apple Starr Orchards for their organic apples and pears but they were closed for the weekend so we went to one of our old favorites.

1284 Julian Orchards Drive
(760) 765-2431
Open 7 days a week form 9am-5pm (until the apples are gone!)

With 8000 trees and seven different varieties you will have plenty of apples to choose from at this orchard. For $10 you get a medium sized paper bag that holds about 40 of their cute little apples. I did not keep track of which type of apples I was picking but I was sure to taste test each new row I picked from.

While we were picking apples we overheard music and festivity coming from a neighboring plot of land so after we filled our bags well above the brim with apples we headed up the road to Menghini Winery where the Julian Music and Art festival was going on. While we were enjoying our $5 wine tasting we had a random run in with some San Diego friends.

We shared a few of our fresh picked apples with them, sat on the back porch of the winery and watched some belly dancers perform at the festival.

After we had our fill of Julian fun we started the trek back to San Diego but of course stopped along the way to pick out a Halloween pumpkin at Mountain Valley Ranch.

This lovely ranch has teeny tiny pumpkins, ginormous monster pumpkins and every size in between.

Steve liked the huge ones and I fell in love with this cute in between sized one and decided to take him home.

They also have a little petting zoo, corn maze and something called a corn cannon for your fall festivity pleasure. If it had not been in the 90’s out still I might have been more inclined to wander through the corn maze but I just kept having visions of not being able to find my way out fast enough and dying of dehydration inside the maze of corn walls.

Back home in San Diego even at 5pm it was still super hot so what did we decide to do? Sit on the porch and taste test some of the hot olives we got at Menghini Winery of course!

Stuffed with jalapeños they were a scrumptious and spicy snack that paired perfectly with the last bit of Trader Joes organic Zinfandel I had left over from last week.

Even though it was a swelteringly hot day our apple adventure was packed full of fall festivity, so much fun in fact that I think I might make a second trip this season at the end of October with my Dad and brother when my apple supply has depleted and the weather cooled enough so I can enjoy some hot cider without breaking a sweat!

1 comment:

jenn said...

I found this place that sells all kind of Gluten Free food and snacks. www.WholeAndNatural.com. I had a great experience with them the last few times. Thanks to them I can have lots of yummy treats.