Thursday, 24 December 2015

happy holidays!

wishing you comfort and joy!
i am cherishing my time with family and special friends! 
i hope you are too!

 merry christmas! 
warm farm hugs,

Wednesday, 28 October 2015


we are very fortunate to again have a fabulous 
group of people help us through another apple season.

some have helped us for many years. for others, this was their first season.
 for a few, this was their very first job. 
a couple of high school students that pruned all summer stayed to help.
others in universities and colleges had helped us when they were in high school 
and looked forward to coming  back to the farm for the thanksgiving weekend!
many were guests here before they worked here… moms that loved the farm, and teens
who came with their parents when they were cute little kids.
(yikes i am sounding like an oldster!)
family, friends, friends of friends…a remarkable, happy, beautiful mélange… 

it is such a busy autumn…
yet somehow they all manage to juggle their other life
 of full time jobs, part time jobs, school, homework,
 kids, hockey, blogs, other farms, other stuff.

….it can’t be easy!
we couldn’t do it without them! 
lucky us! lucky guests!


a heartfelt thank you to 
lucas, debbie, kelli, linda, gregory, trudy, gord, paige,
 clare, haley, emily, madelyn, stephanie, audry, dawn,    
samuel, nathan, kenten, kelly, bryn, megan, olivia, curtis, 
arun, kirk, jaimy, alexina, michael, jonathan, joy, 
courtney, danielle, brooke, katrina, lauren, cameron, sam, 
gloria, christine, susan, lora, and of course our spencer and margo 
who have grown up always helping us!
and our very special friends joe and donna.
joe has volunteered here for many years…doing every job imaginable!
donna has so kindly brought us many many incredible delicious
 home made dinners every sunday during harvest for many years!
special indeed!

warm farm hugs,
laura and mark

Thursday, 15 October 2015

another season's end

yes...every last apple has been picked.

we are closed for another season.

it is bittersweet!

but can i just say how wonderful our customers are?

thank you to the gentleman who generously paid for a family’s
 apples after they enjoyed picking many bags 
but did not want to pay for them.   

thank you to the doctor who came forward to help
 when a little guest was injured.

thank you to the mom who put extra toilet paper in our outhouses!

thank you to the lady who picked mcgowen apples for me so
 i wouldn’t run out at our tasting wagon. 

thank you to our guest who turned in a lost little red purse.
the owner was in tears when she came back
 a couple of weeks later to pick it up.

thank you to the gentleman that donated rain
 ponchos for the next rainy day. 

thank you irma and lisa for sharing your apple cake recipe.

thank you to the lady who donated money she had found
 to some one who could use it. know that a group of 
special needs kids benefited from your generosity. 

thank you to our guest that found a single sweet baby’s slipper.
 our cinderella story…
the baby’s mom was so happy to have it found!
it held sentimental value.

thank you for including us in your family’s tradition
 and joining us year after year…
including the many young families who had come
 to the farm themselves as kids and are now bringing theirs..
with their grandparents!

thank you for all your kind words and 
for buying our apples and pears!
i could write thank you’s all day…everyday! 

it is heartwarming to be able to invite so many lovely families
 to our home and share our passion for the farm and orchard. 
we look forward to seeing you again next year.

our staff is pretty wonderful too!
more about them next time…

warm farm hugs,

Thursday, 8 October 2015

happy thanksgiving

we have so much to be thankful for…
so glad that we are a part of your family’s tradition!
this will be our last weekend of the season.

our idared, red delicious and our late jonagold
apples are now perfect for picking. 
we still have plenty of golden delicious, mutsu, and mcgowens. 


with lovely hints of lemon and a strong apple flavour 
similar to the cortland, this is many of our european customers’ 
favourite apple for pies, strudels and apple cake. 
i have included a fabulous recipe today using idareds.
  when used for apple sauce the skin imparts a beautiful pink colour. 
ida reds are the absolute best apple for storing…
tuck some away in your cold cellar!
they are a cross between a wagener and a jonathan. 

red delicious

nothing compares to a fresh from the tree red delicious!
so crisp, sweet and juicy! these are excellent for storing too.
when i was a kid i thought there were only 2 types
 of apples...macs and delicious!
 they are gorgeous to use decoratively... 
as a centre piece, outdoors nestled with greens and pinecones, 
or piled in a pretty bowl at christmas! 


juicy and aromatic, jonagolds are a 
cross between a jonathan and a golden delicious.
very sweet with a hint of tartness these are wonderful for baking. 


isn’t this gorgeous? a jonagold espalier on the old foundation. 

sisters irma and lisa, dear customers kindly shared 
their german apple cake recipe…

beautifully written out by hand and mailed.
how sweet and thoughtful is that?

unlike anything i have baked before…
not like the cakes we know, not quite a tart, not a pie, 
crisp or cobbler…it is so lovely!
not too sweet, but rich and quite sophisticated...
maybe because it is european?
it looks a little rustic…which i love. 
the pastry is like a shortbread crust.
and the idareds are that perfect flavour and texture.
more fruit than anything…good for an apple farmer i love!

here is their recipe:

german apple cake 

you will need a 26cm spring form pan 

the dough
 250 g all purpose flour     1 1/3 cup
 120 g unsalted butter           1/3 cup 
 80 g sugar                                1/3 cup
 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
 1 egg
 dry breadcrumbs  2 ish tablespoons

   the apples 
1 kg tart apples   about 6 or 7 idared apples 
(cortland, jonagold, or mutsu will work too
    60g sugar and cinnamon mixture    1/4 cup or less

the streusel 
butter crumb topping
300 g all purpose flour      1  2/3 cup
175 g sugar       1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup
1 package of dr.oetker’s vanilla sugar. 
*i always have a vanilla bean in my sugar jar,
so i didn’t add this. it is 1 tablespoon extra
1 teaspoon of the sugar and cinnamon mixture
125g cold unsalted butter    a generous 1/2 cup 
this topping is enough for 3 or 4 cakes…
it keeps well stored in a tightly closed glass jar in the fridge.

to make the dough
sift flour and baking powder onto pastry board or flat surface.
make a well in the centre.
combine eggs and sugar
pour this into the well and mix a little flour into the center to make a thick paste.
cut cold butter into small pieces over the the egg and sugar paste
put a little flour over the butter.
this will keep the butter from sticking to your hands. 
irma wrote that it is very important to work with cold hands. 
don’t hold the dough too long in your hands
 or the dough will be too soft. 
work all the ingredients together to form a soft smooth dough.

*i was a little afraid of all this getting the dough too warm thing
 and combined the ingredients with my big flat scraper tool to start.
my dough never looked soft and smooth, 
but the ingredients were combined and looked polka dotted with butter.
it is quite a dry dough but irma assured me that it is ok
 because it will absorb some of the apple juice too!

roll out the dough to a circle about 1 inch larger than the pan

carefully place it in the baking pan.
press dough to the bottom and sides and with a fork 
pull excess dough up the sides to crimp. 
i patched extra pieces into the sides to fill in gaps and even up the height.
*you don’t want the sides too tall or they will burn.
prick the bottom with a fork several times. 
sprinkle breadcrumbs lightly over the bottom. 
let stand in a cool place for 2 hours. *i put it in the fridge.

streusel butter crumbs
combine the flour and sugars
cut butter into small pieces and cut further into
 the flour and sugar mixture. 

prepare the apples
wash, peel and core the apples.
slice in halves and then in 3 sections
 and slice each section 1 cm along the top but not through. 
place sections along the edge of the pan and 
continue until the form is fully covered.
 fill any empty spaces with small apple pieces. 
*this will be it doesn’t have to look pretty...
much to my chagrin
take a piece of cold hard butter and rub on each apple. 
sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.

cover the apples with about 1 cup of the streusel butter crumbs.
*this looks really dry...but it will combine with the delicious
 juices and make a lovely topping!

bake in the low or middle rack of your oven at
 177˚c  350˚f  convection or 200˚c  400˚f  for 45 minutes.  
*400˚ seemed too high...i baked mine at 350˚in a regular oven.  
if the apples are not yet soft, bake for 15 minutes more. 
when done, remove from oven and remove side ring. 
let the cake rest for a few minutes and slide it from the base.
*i have a glass bottom pan and kept mine on it.

enjoy warm with a friend... or the next morning for breakfast!
 i did both!
thank you so much irma and lisa! 
i now have a new favourite dessert to share. 

happy thanksgiving…
enjoy the long weekend!
warm farm hugs,