Wednesday, 24 December 2014

oh what fun!

oh i love this season! 
what fun to bake, wrap, give, deck the halls, 
and enjoy our family and friends. 
what a wonderful life!
it is so foggy here today…perfect for rudolph!

wishing you comfort and joy.
warm holiday hugs,

Sunday, 21 December 2014

hello winter

welcome winter!

hello again! 
hope you are warm and cozy today…the first day of winter. 
do you celebrate the solstice? we try and do something festive…
perhaps a hike on the farm with a thermos full of something wonderful.
 perhaps we will get our christmas tree today! 
my daughter is skating outside with friends tonight…
she is bringing sparklers! i love that!
enjoy this very short and sweet day!   
warm farm hugs,

Friday, 31 October 2014


when our kids were little, we knew every trick or treater that came to our door. 
luckily we were able to give out home made treats.
our tradition was to make sponge toffee.

crazy easy and fun to make, it's kinda like a science experiment!
 you will need a candy thermometer for this. 

2 1/2 cups of granulated  sugar
2/3 cup of white corn syrup
1/3 cup of water
  4 teaspoons of baking soda
 2 teaspoons of vanilla

in a 12-cup pot over medium heat, stir together sugar,
 corn syrup and water just until the sugar dissolves. 
the big pot seems excessive but you will absolutely need it 
when you add the baking soda later.

bring this to a boil and cook, without stirring but brushing down the side of the pot
 occasionally with a pastry brush dipped in cold water,
 until a candy thermometer reaches 300°f.
 this will take about 15 minutes.
 you brush away the sugary bits from the sides so they won't burn. 

remove from heat. standing back and averting your face, whisk in the baking soda.
 this will bubble and sputter and increase in volume. whisk in the vanilla.

pour the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

i used one of our silpat sheets that we have for making candy apples...
they are brilliant and worth every cent!
 allow this to cool without disturbing for about 1 hour.
 break or cut into pieces.
you could also dip one side into melted chocolate.

 i just mailed a batch to our daughter in university! 
i love traditions!

happy hallowe’en! 
sweet and scary hugs,

carl laidlaw orchards

Thursday, 23 October 2014

french apple tart

  a perfect autumn day...
picking mutsu apples and then baking.

this is another one of our favourite desserts to enjoy with friends.
so delicious...simple yet exquisite.

french apple tart 

the recipe is from ina garten's barefoot contessa back to basics cook book.
what you will need....

1 sheet of packaged frozen butter puff pastry, defrosted.
(the pastry i buy comes in packages of 2 so i always double the recipe)
4 mutsu apples 
(granny smith, golden delicious, ida red and cortland will work too) 
1/2 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter
 1/2 cup of apricot jam that has been sieved so it is free of lumps.

preheat your oven to 400˚
roll out the dough to a rectangle
about 10 x 14 inches on the parchment paper it comes with.
 place on a cookie sheet. 
peel, slice and core the apples.
if you don’t have one of those amazing machines,
 just slice them and simply remove the cores with a melon baller.
arrange the apple slices diagonally down the centre, overlapping a little.
continue making rows on both sides, covering the pastry. 

sprinkle with the sugar and evenly grate the cold butter overtop of the entire tart. 
(ina dots her tart with little cubes of butter,
 but i found that the butter puddles and burns this way.)
that is one thing i love about ina...she loves butter as much as i do!

bake for about 45 minutes, until the pastry is browned
 and the edges of the apples are starting to brown.
 keep a close eye…it is really easy to burn the pastry.
the apple juices will burn on the cookie sheet, 
but the tart will be fine. 
when you take out the tart, heat the apricot jam.

brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jam.
loosen the tart with a spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper.
let it cool. cut into 9 pieces with a sharp knife.
transfer the tart to a serving platter. 
although it is best enjoyed an hour or two
after it comes out of the oven,
 this tart makes a wonderful morning treat with coffee.
listening to édith piaf makes the tart taste even better!

i just love how my hydrangeas
 and the mutsus share the same colours!

hope you are enjoying these gorgeous warm autumn days!
warm farm hugs,

Thursday, 16 October 2014

season's end

yes, the rumours are true...

every last apple has been picked! 

we are closed now for the season.
thank you for visiting us… we look forward to seeing you again next year. 

 i hope you have some apples tucked away in your fridge or cold room!
i will be sharing a fabulous recipe next week.
(make sure  you have butter puff pastry in your freezer)

warm farm hugs,

Saturday, 11 October 2014


we have so many things to be thankful for….
especially our wonderful customers!

i don’t know who to credit this picture to…
it sure made me smile!

enjoy the long weekend 
a warm, heartfelt thank you

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

life of pie

“good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.”
jane austen

oh jane…i think we must be sisters!
we do love our apple pies! the quintessential taste of autumn.
here’s the recipe for our harvest apple pie…simple and delicious

the pastry...
 this is my sister nancy's mother in law's coveted recipe 

5 cups of all purpose flour
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
a dash of salt
1 pound of lard
1 large egg
some water
1 tablespoon of vinegar

combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
cut the lard into this mixture until it looks oatmeal-ish.
crack the egg into a small measuring cup. beat the egg then add water to make 3/4 of a cup.
 add the vinegar. mix this into the flour mixture and knead a little.
divide this into four balls... two tops and two bottoms. 
flatten slightly to form disks and wrap in plastic.
 chill for at least an hour before you roll it out for apple pie...

 the pie...
my sister’s pastry  2 disks 
5 large apples (mutsu, golden delicious, ida red) 
or 8 medium apples (cortland, spartan, macintosh) 
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice       
1/4 cup of white or brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4  teaspoon of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of flour

preheat oven to 450°f.  
place a cookie sheet in the middle of your oven.
roll out one of the disks between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8 inch thickness
 and transfer to a 9 inch pie plate. tuck it in the fridge.
 roll out the second disk to the same thickness, forming a circle.
 tuck it in the fridge too.

peel, core and slice the apples.

toss the apples with the lemon juice, sugar, spices and flour.

pour this into the pie shell.
top with the remaining pastry. trim and crimp the edges together.
 cut a few slices in the top to let the steam escape.
place on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°f 
and bake for another 40-50 ish minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. 

we use the deep dish tender flake pastry in the barn when you make a pie with us.
 especially when little hands are involved it is a very forgiving and tasty pastry.
 you can find it in the freezer at the grocery store.
 one shell for the bottom, one shell for the top.
 easy as pie!

we grew up enjoying  warm apple pie with a slice of old cheddar cheese on top.
ice cream is pretty dreamy too!  

mark still asks for apple pie instead of birthday cake.
 and he still eats pie for breakfast! 

 warm farm hugs,

carl laidlaw orchards

Friday, 3 October 2014


it is certainly easy to enjoy an apple a day!
we have just started to harvest 8 more varieties...


 named after the japanese province, mutsu are crisp, juicy and tart when first harvested.
left to ripen and harvested later, they turn a beautiful blush and sweeten
 with a complex flavour that is both spicy and sweet.
they are lovely for tarts and pies and an excellent apple for storing. 
a good date apple…they are so large, they beg to be shared! 

golden delicious

 golden delicious are firm, sweet and crisp with a delicate mellow flavour.
 their thin skin doesn’t require peeling... making them terrific for sauces, pies and tarts. 
 they retain their shape well when cooked...truly wonderful in any recipe!


 a cross of a red delicious and a macintosh, empires are the best of both…
tart and sweet, crunchy and juicy. they don’t easily bruise, establishing them as a favourite for lunches.
 they are also excellent for salads, sauces, baking and pies. 
with halloween anticipated, one of our little guests thought these were called vampire apples! 


probably the least attractive apple on the farm, the rusty skin looks kind of vintage!
 pear like in texture, russets are juicy with coarse flesh.
 they can be tart to very sweet, depending on when they are harvested. they are often used in cider.


isn’t the name fun? these are an early golden delicious variety..mild, sweet and juicy.
 smoothies are a wonderful all purpose apple..they can snuggle in any recipe.

tolman sweet

like the name suggests, they are sweet indeed....and also pear like. 
these are the oldest and biggest trees on the farm. mark’s great grandpa planted the orchard.
it makes us smile while picking them!

ida red 

sweetly tart and deliciously spicy, ida reds have a strong apple flavour with hints of lemon. 
 they are fabulous for pies and the beautiful bright skin imparts a pink colour in apple sauce. 
they are a cross of a jonathan and wagener.
 these are my second favourite apple for the autumn fruit crisp, when we run out of cortlands.
they are excellent for storing. if you are a baker, this is the one to fill your extra fridge with. 

red delicious

forget the store bought kind…these really are delicious when enjoyed fresh off the tree.
 mild, sweet and crunchy, these are a perfect snack. they store very well too!

we are continuing to pick macintosh, mcgowen, cortland, and gala. 
our honey crisps picked out so quickly,
 so we have brought some in for you from another wonderful orchard.

 put on your favourite cozy sweater and enjoy a crisp autumn day in the orchard.

warm farm hugs,