Making memories out of Apples

When I realized that my little girl and I would be spending the day all by ourselves Saturday I posed the question of what would she like to do....and threw out visiting every ice cream shoppe in northern Indiana as an option. Her brother was at the Purdue game, and mom was on a road trip with a girlfriend. Dad and his little girl would go.........???? To an apple orchard? That was the request. It seems the apple bug bit her hard last week during a classroom demonstration of applesauce making. And so, I figure, ok-besides it's a great way to get her into the country and in touch with her Johnny Appleseed roots.

So, shortly after lunch we headed south to Miami County which boasts two great apple orchards. The first most people driving U.S. 31 probably use as a landmark-McClure's Tate Apple Orchard. This was her requested stop. The other I found online: Doud's Orchard on Highway 19, about 9 miles north of Peru. By the way, I love driving in the country this time of year.

We bought a handful of "honeycrisp" apples at Tates. I was informed by my daughter that this was the only worthy variety to get. We then got applesauce and an apple dumpling at the restaurant. Wow..did I forget how good their dumplings are.

From Tates we went drove over to Highway 19 through Denver, and detoured slightly to drive through the little town of Chili. Now, you know I like canoing and the Miller Canoe rental caught my eye. The town has perfect access to the Eel River and may demand a return trip next year for a little time on the water. I also noted that the canoe rental building must have been an old mill because it was on "Chili Mill Road". I love that name. I also love chili. So I'm thinking of opening a restaurant that specializes in chili and operate a canoe rental place out of the back. I would call it Chili Mill.

We headed north and came to Doud's. It's a great operation that isn't so commercialized. While you wouldn't know it from the outside, it is housed in a one room brick school with an old barn built around it in which the store is located. We bought apple butter and a candy stick. Take a look at at the construction of the orchard buildings at Douds. These look like large clay tile used for field tile drainage systems. I have to say...this was pretty cool. I highly recommend a visit.

While we weren't allowed any actual apple picking, we had a great time. And it took me back to my days with Grandad who in his spare time built wood crates for Lemert's Apple Orchard in Teegarden, Indiana. I remember heading over there after school some days to pick apples to our hearts content and gramps telling me to climb up in the tree and shake 'em loose. And I remember the old cider press that had a tin cup tied to it and we would all take a sip on the way out. Lemerts has been gone for some time now.

Yellow delicious were my favorite. In college I'd swing by our town's farm market and get a handful of yellows to take back with me to Andrews U. And usually eat one on the road north, remembering gramps. It was great making new memories in an Indiana apple orchard with my little girl. More on this trip to follow including seeing the world through a 7 year old's eyes.


Anonymous said…
nice story! however let me get this straight you bought apples to take back with you to Berrien Springs in the heart of Southwest Michigans fruit country? Did you take water from home too???
hoosier reborn said…
I never thought of it that way. Chances are the apples were from Michigan to start I was returning them.
vanilla said…
Last week at Salamonie the trees were robbed of their fruit, the campers and visitors removed the "bad spots" from the apples, and then pressed 13 gallons of the liquid goodness. We brought one gallon home with us. Won't last much longer! Old twist-the-screw press. Hard work, real reward.

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