Apples, Pumpkins, and Donuts. Oh my! at Applecrest Farm, NH

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What do they say about best laid plans?

Oh that’s right, they often get screwed up.

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We had planned on going apple and pumpkin picking at Applecrest Farm with Price’s sister this past weekend. We went there last year, and had a blast, so we wanted to go again to get some more apples, pumpkins, and cider donuts.

Unfortunately, the day was much chillier than what would have been comfortable for apple picking. The temperature was okay, but the wind went right through ya!  So we changed things up and checked out their large farm market instead

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First, we bee-lined it to cider donuts stand for fresh donuts, which are my most favorite fall things ever. Autumn seemed to enjoy herself too!

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Oh, hello.

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Since we skipped the orchards, we got all our apples in their new Farm Market.

They were building it last year when we were visiting so it was fun to go back and see it completed. It is so charming with crates of fresh fruits and vegetables, a lot from their very own farm. As well as a selection of beer and wine, frozen prepared foods, and freshly baked goods. Rounding that all out is a healthy stocked refrigerated section, that includes fresh cider. It’s hard to find in the area, but they have raw cider, which is needed to make hard cider, so they are a great resource for home brewers.

There even is a Farm Bistro. Adorable. Timing wasn’t right for us to visit and try it out, but I’m really hoping to go back one day.

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I love fall in New England.

We grabbed a lot of apples from our visit so I have plenty of apples to eat (Idared) and bake (Cortland) with. They cut a blue hubbard squash in half for us (to split with Catherine), which roasted up so very well! Plus, I grabbed day old cider donuts, that I used to make a bread pudding. That I then smothered with a lot of homemade apple cider caramel sauce. (recipe coming soon!)

Apples and pumpkins are still available for picking so be sure to check out Applecrest Farm this weekend!

Applecrest Farm

133 Exeter Road (Rt.88)

Hampton Falls, NH 03844

603.926.3721

Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Open Daily, Year-Round.

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Our Boston Bucket List

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So that’s it, the cats out of the bag!

I had my yearly review yesterday and offically put in my request for a transfer in the Tampa office for next spring. Price put his request in a few weeks ago during his review so things will get in motion for both of us sooner or later. While Spring 2016 is a ways off, but it will be here before we know it!

Yep, we are looking to move to Tampa, Florida. Both my Mom and Dad live in Florida and it would be nice to live close enough to some family to regularly see them. And for the family that is still in CT, NH, & NH, they are just a 3 hour plane ride away. It will be nice to come back up for visits and I don’t think they will mind having a built in escape from the cold Northeast winters. (Shoot, I won’t miss these harsh winters at all!)

Price and I moved to Boston at roughly the same time in August of 2003. We met the following fall, made it official in January, and have been together since. We certainly have done a lot together in Boston and beyond. We love to travel but now that we are focusing on a big move in the next year or so, we have been talking about all the things we have, haven’t done in Boston, or things we want to do again.

It’s amazing to think of all the fun and memories we have created in and around Boston these past 10 years together by going out to great dinners, walking walks, going to museums, seeing sporting events, and attending concerts but there is a long list of things we still haven’t done.

So we have recently been discussing creating a “Boston Bucket List” to stay on track of getting it all done. Hhere is what we whipped up!!

Places/Events/Things

Attend the Head of the Charles

 Visit Provincetown

Duck Boat Tour (I did one, but we want to take Autumn on one)

Visit Martha’s Vineyard

Visit Nantucket

Go to the top of the Custom House

Visit Cape Cod… maybe even the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory Tour!

Plymouth Plantation

Walk the Freedom Trail (again!)

Boston Harbor Cruise

Go on a Whale Watch

Shop at SoWa Market & eat at the food trucks

Visit Boston Harbor Islands

Candle Pin Bowling

Foodie Things

Top of the Hub (again)

 Cutty’s Sandwich Shop – Brookline

Bamboo Thai Restaurant (one of our favorites)

Durgin Park

Moody’s Deli- Waltham

Rino’s Place- East Boston

Blackbird Doughnuts- South End

Kane’s Donuts- Saugus

Speed Dogs

Cheers Bar

Parish Cafe for Zuni Rolls (can’t have enough of these)

Gruyere Cheese Croissants from Clear Flour Bakery

Autumn’s Firsts

Attends a Red Sox game and runs the bases at Fenway

Take Autumn to Make Way for Ducklings Statues (We just did it!)

Take Autumn to Salem around Halloween

 Mother’s Day Make Way for Ducklings Parade (We just did it!!)

Skiing with Autumn

Go on thec Carousel on the Greenway

And Beyond

Smorgasburg- Brooklyn

See the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center- NYC

Walk the locations of You’ve Got Mail around NYC

Visit Gma’s House at Maine

Visit Cooper and Tara in Maine

Get a Cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery- NYC

Dinosaur BBQ (Syracuse/Stamford)

Becky’s Diner- Portland Maine

Camping Weekend- New Hampshire

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwiches from the Firehouse Deli- Greenwich, CT

Garden Catering – Greenwich, CT

Chocolate Brioche Rolls from The Kneaded Bread- Port Chester, NY

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So the list is really ambitious but we wanted to set our sights high and aim to get a lot of things done in the next year. We love being active and this will certainly keep us busy. This will be so much fun!

Do you have any suggestions for us to see in and around Boston?

Lobster Eggs Benedict – Ceia Restaurant and Bar, Newburyport, MA

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Just a few weekends ago I had such a fantastic brunch at Ceia Restaurant and Bar.

What was I doing way up in Newburyport?

I was getting to meet Carrie and Liz!!!!!!!

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I have been talking to Carrie for ages and ages on social media, but have never met, although we live a little more an hour apart. Carrie introduced me to Liz when she invited me to brunch. So much fun.

Liz picked Ceia Restuarant and Bar for our brunch as we decided to meet in the middle of all of us. Liz lives nearby and enjoys going there for drinks and dinner so it sounded like a great pick. And it was!

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Carrie ordered a Kobe Burger ($16). It’s a burger on a buttered focaccia bun and topped off with Serrano ham, manchego cheese, and a slice of tomato. All of their sandwiches are served with Duckfat fries. OMG! I snagged some and they were fantastic. It was the first time I had Duckfat fries, and I’m hooked now. Plus, they serve a house-made ketchup that is sweet, smokey, and creamy. One of the best homemade ketchups that I’ve ever had.

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Liz stuck with the breakfast dishes and ordered the pancakes ($13). The pancakes were studded with black walnuts and thinly chopped pear, and served with with fresh maple syrup. The pancakes were cooked in Candy Cap Oil, which is actually oil infused with forged mushrooms, but has a maple flavor to it. Pretty cool.

Carrie ordered a mimosa and I ordered a Bloody Mary as our brunch bevies. The Bloody Mary was good, but I felt it it was missing something, spicy maybe? Plus, I thought it was ‘weak’. Similarly, Carrie thought her mimosa was too.

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I had considered ordering the Shirred Eggs entree but when I saw they had a Lobster Benedict ($18) I just knew it was the thing I couldn’t resist.  I mean how could I?!?

Poached Lobster, poached eggs, and a thick slice of Tomato set atop an English Muffin. And then a Spicy Hollandaise was drizzled on top.  Then some dressed arugula was piled on top all of that.

It all just sounded too good.

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 And it really, really was so good.

The serving of the lobster was generous and cooked perfectly. As well, the poached eggs were just about perfect. The addition of the tomato and arugula was enjoyable as they added to the flavor and texture of the dish. The arugula added a bit of a pop to it all. The only disappointing element of the dish were the English Muffins. It seemed that they had forgotten to be toasted, or if they were it was done so lightly that the insides still seemed doughy. Yes, I could have requested new English muffins but I didn’t as I didn’t feel that I missed out on the overall experience of the dish but leaving them to the side. Plus, there still was a great side of hash browns to be enjoyed.

The side of potatoes were amazing. I loved how crunchy they were. They were a great vehicle for the ketchup that was served along side of them. That ketchup was unreal. I typically notice a heavy molasses or vinegar taste in homemade ketchups but this didn’t have either distinct flavor. It was a great consistency and well balanced.

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Brunch with great food and great company is always fantastic. I can’t wait to meet up with Carrie and Liz again. And I highly suggest going to Ceia in Newburyport to satisfy your eggs benedict craving.

Rating

English Muffin– 13/20 pts

Lobster and Tomato– 20/20 pts

Poached Egg– 23/25 pts

Spicy Hollandaise- 24/25 pts

Homefries and ketchup– 9/10 pts

 

Total: 89/100 pts

Ceia Restaurant and Bar

38 State Street

Newburyport, MA 01950

978.358.8112

 

Apple picking at Cider Hill Farm

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I know, I know… It’s a bit late in the season to post about apple picking but I couldn’t resist sharing these pictures from when we went apple picking a few weeks ago. Plus things are still great in some orchards so don’t think you’ve missed your chance just yet!!

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We try to go to different orchards every year to experience something new and see which ones we like the best. Price found Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, MA so we headed up there for a bit of apple picking.

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Once you grab a bag for the apples you are ready to go! They give out a handy guide to inform you about each variety, such as what they tasted like, and where each apple is in the several orchards. As well, we were told which apples were best to harvest now and where they were in the orchards, just to help us out.

I feel that the info could be improved to help you pick which apple you would want for what use. We always go to the orchards to get apples that are great for eating and baking with since I’m not one to really make sauce. So we ended up pulling up info on our phones as we walked around the orchards. (As well, this guide is really helpful!)

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Could not get over the hanging baskets. Just look how big they are compared to the pumpkins!

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Rows upon rows of apples fresh for the picking!

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We wandered around the long rows picking apples at the tips of our finger tips. There is just something so fun about squishing yourself in the branches and just grabbing hold of a fresh shiny apple!

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Autumn is just so beautiful.

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ahh bliss! These were fresh from the frier and so dang good. They were airy, flavorful, and the perfect consistency for apple cider donuts. We got a dozen because we get them 1x a year and I figured eating 6 was reasonable…

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For the 2013 season the price for apples is $1.85/lb and pumpkins are $.59/lb.

Cider Hill Farm

45 Fern Ave

Amesbury, MA 01913

(978) 388-5525

Apple Picking At Russell Orchard in Ispwich, MA

Two weeknds ago I went apple picking with some coworkers and had a fantastic time together getting bags full of apples. We went up to Russell Orchards in Ispwich as it is one of the closest places to go apple picking around Boston. It was my first time going there for apple picking (Price and I had been there for berry picking years ago). The day was beautiful and we had so much fun picking bags of varieties of apples.

Prior to my friends’ arrival I took part in a wine & cider tasting in their general store from their own winery. For $5 I sampled 2 hard ciders, 2 fruit wines, and received a branded glass. They sample different ciders and wines (11% alcohol)every week. This week they sampled their Apple Cider, Perry, Jostaberry, and Dry Blueberry.

Apple Cider- “A very sweet and fruity dessert cider, great with apple pie” … This was very enjoyable. I liked the sweet subtle flavor.

Perry- “A slightly sweet hard pear drink” … I wouldn’t have even guessed this was pear. It was lovely but was not very fruity, esp pear like.

Jostaberry- “The berry is a cross between the gooseberry and the black currant. This wine has a tart, fruity taste.” … I loved this red fruit wine. It was tart but not pucker inducing. I liked the flavors, specifically the currant flavor,

Dry Blueberry- “Similar to the Blueberry, except this wine is aged in French oak. Bold like a Cabernet with a subtle berry flavor” … I didn’t finish my sample of this, neither did the 2 women next to me. They must not have been a fan of the smokey flavor. Had it been described as smokey I would have not had it as I for like smokey flavors, esp wine. If you like very dry and smokey then this is a great wine for you.

I’m glad my coworker picked Russell Orchard as it was convenient to get to, packed full of apples, and was a beautiful place.

Beautiful, beautiful apples.

It’s hard to go wrong with acres of apples, but they organize their PYO (pick your own) fields well. Everything was labeled with clear signs on each end of the row. Having gone to other orchards that just use flags as boundaries I found that Russell’s fields were very easy to navigate.

The fields are a short walk from the entrance so they offer hayrides to get to and from the fields. We deicded not to do this as the lines was l-o-n-g but it looked like a lot of fun. Personally, I think you should walk to the fields and take the hayride back after you (and your kids) are tired from walking around and carring a bag of apples.

For $15 you get a peck sized bag, which holds about 10-12 lbs of apples. I wanted a wheel barrel full but that was not an option nor, I assume, in my budget. I stuck with only picking apples that were good for baking, which were Cortland, Empire, Jonagold, and Honeycrisp. Their chart was helpful for picking which apples were best for baking, sauce, dessert (eating??), and juice. Their site says that it is cash only for weekends and Monday holidays but they did accept debit cards by the general store. You just need to buy your bag there at the store instead of getting it at the orchards

Before we left I got a loaf of cinnamon bread that we enjoyed for breakfast the following week. While there were long lines for their cider donuts I did not get any. I much prefer cider donuts that are coated in cinnamon and sugar while they are fresh from the fryer. Russell makes a plain donut and I just can’t justify the calories on something I don’t love.

I think this is great orchard to visit in the summer for berry picking and in the fall for apple picking. Don’t miss out on picking local fruit at the peak of season!

Gotta go get a pumpkin next, dontcha think?

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Russell Orchards

143 Argilla Road

Ipswich, MA

(978) 356-5366

open 9-6 daily