For the past several years, the excitement and build up to a certain special, fall day in late September has always been well worth the anticipation. All it really is, is a day in the country with my mom and sisters, apple picking at Apple Annies, a charming little apple orchard and pumpkin patch in Willcox, Arizona. It's also known as, my happy place. We always go on the first official weekend of fall, which is when they have their all you can eat, apple pancakes and sausage and their country craft fair. The years we've gone have been some of the best days of my life. You may think that it sounds silly, but spending that day with my mom and sisters make it pure bliss.
We arrive at the apple orchard just in time for the fresh pancake and sausage breakfast. We find our parking space in the huge dirt lot and as we step out of the car, we are instantly hit with the smell of fresh kettle corn and apple cider donuts. We see all the craft tents and huge barrels of granny smith apples only steps away. As we make our way through the entrance, we start to smell the apple smoked sausage and cinnamon apple syrup. We fill our faces with the delicious breakfast and head out for some apple picking. The orchard is beautiful. It's granny smith season when we go, so the fields are filled with gorgeous trees of deep green, with hints of yellow and orange. The apples are bright yellowish-green and the trail is lined with fallen red and green apples. We take about a million pictures of every inch of the orchard every time! Through the years, we've learned that we only need to pick a few and then purchase the rest back at the apple stand. After we choose our apples, then it's time for the country bakery. We usually come out of there with arms full of apple bread, apple butter, pumpkin fudge, honey sticks and lots more! We have learned through the years, to be prepared, so we come with empty coolers with ice packs for the goods. Next, we usually hit up the county craft fair. It's so much fun to see all the artsy booths. We are usually feeling pretty crafty about that time of year, so the excitement we have while studying all the new creations is beyond the greatest feeling. After checking out the booths, we hit up the apple cider donut stand and the country gift shop. The gift shop is filled with primitive decor and whimsical country items. It's so much fun and really hard to resist buying something!
After the apple orchard, we head about a mile down the road to the pumpkin patch. This is where we buy fresh produce, including fresh corn! I have been known to purchase their fried green tomato mix and lots and lots of fresh jalapenos. We usually take pictures of the bright orange pumpkins laying in the huge patch and also get some shots of the golden corn fields. It's so breathtaking. I love it.
It's also become a tradition, that on our way home, we stop and have a late lunch at our favorite Mexican food restaurant in Benson called McGaley's. They have the best chile rellenos I've ever had in my life. It's just an amazing day, all around, filled with fun, fresh air, shopping and lots and lots of delicious food!
The next day, Sunday, we always have a full-on baking day at my mom's house. We bake apple pies, apple struedle and apple cupcakes. At the end of the day, every inch of my mom's kitchen is covered in flour, cinnamon and apple peels. It's definitely worth it and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Sadly, I missed our annual trip this year. I'm tied up in Northern California still and surely did not want to still be here come fall. My mom and sister, Ginger, did still go, which I am happy about, but it's also a little bit sad that Bri and I weren't there, too. This is definitely an off year and I hope that it only means that next year is all the more better. The tradition will continue for years and years to come and I hope that it never fades away. So, next year, I hope we will all find ourselves, once again, in my happy place.