The Perfect Dutch Apple Picking Day
I’ve fallen in with the most delightful group of moms here. So, I jumped at the chance for a fun fall family outing with a few of these ladies and their families.
We headed about 45min north of Delft to a Self-Pick Apple Farm, Landgoed De Olmenhorst. While Olmenhorst is not your only option for apple picking in the Netherlands it does seem to be the largest.
We arrived just as the farm opened for the day. In fact we arrived so early, they failed to charge us the 3 Euro parking fee. The weather was perfect, so an hour after our arrival the parking lot was full and the farm was crowded. Once you pushed into the orchards you would hardly know the place was crowded… until you headed out to pay for what you picked.
The farm is incredibly organized. (That is Dutch efficiency for you!) Apple picking (two types: Santana and Elstar) are on one end of the farm and pears are on the other. You pay for each in their respective area. In the middle is a large playground, some shops, a cafe, a restaurant (that requires reservations) pony rides and wagon rides.
We started with the apples. The group slowly grew as more and more new friends showed up. As usual the kids were quick to take to each other. Running down the aisles as fast as they could, sometimes quickly darting across and between the trees. The dads hoisted them up on their shoulders to pick the apples at the top of the trees. The moms huddled in conversation, continuously telling the dads they were picking far too many apples!
We loaded our haul of apples into our car and as a group headed over to the pears. The kids enjoyed snacking as we picked. The pears and apples in the Netherlands are far smaller than their American counterparts. It is not hard to eat a few as you look for the perfect area to pick.
Lunch was delightful. We all shared the one picnic blanket Jeff keeps in the back of his car. The cafe had the typical Dutch sandwiches, fries, juice (sap as they call it here) and Dutch apple pie. Huddled all together we had a chance to chat while the kids alternated eating and running to the playground.
As we were pulling out of the parking lot we saw a sign for pumpkin picking! I looked back and found that both the kids were asleep. Pumpkin picking would have to wait. I turned my thoughts to what we were going to do with all those apples! Jeff has plans for some delicious treats and my head filled with craft options!
So here is my recipe for the perfect Dutch Apple Picking Day:
- Slowly combine a smattering of new mom friends, their adorable children and fun husbands until everyone is laughing.
- Eat and collect as many small Dutch apples and pears as you can carry to your car.
- Totally disregard any thoughts that come in to your head about what you will do with all the fruit.
- Allow your new friends to convince you that you can never have too many apples to make Dutch Apple Pie, American Apple Pie and Apple Cider without a press. (Everyone assures me you just need cheesecloth.)
- Bring only one picnic blanket and insist everyone sit on it or near it for lunch. This will produce lots of laughs, smiles and new friends.
- Bask in the sun enjoying your new friends, knowing the sun will soon be replaced by a cold, wet winter.
- Go home and make apple pie and apple prints to remember the first fall day in a foreign country that has started to feel like home.
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