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Apple Hill!

September 13, 2010
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Every fall, my mom and I drive to the foothills between Sacramento and Tahoe for one of my favorite traditions – Apple Hill.  Back in the 1960s, a group of struggling family-owned apple orchards banded together to bring in new business.  Nearly 50 years later, there are more than 50 ranches (including apple orchards, Christmas tree farms, several wineries, and a brewery) that throw open their doors to the public every fall – there are craft vendors and bake shops, you-pick farms, and even a miniature train for children.  You can drive from one end of Apple Hill to the other in less than 15 minutes, but the region draws tons of visitors every year.  It is, essentially, a harvest festival that lasts from Labor Day through Christmas – in my book, you can’t beat that.

I always consider our Apple Hill pilgrimage to be the unofficial beginning of fall (my very favorite season), even when the weather still has one foot firmly planted in summer.  I look forward to hot apple turnovers, apple picking, hot apple cider, and of course, apple cider doughnuts.

We always leave with boxes and boxes of apples and pears (and several bottles of very tasty wine) to turn in to yummy things at home.

This year, some of these have become apple jelly, barbeque sauce, and pear butter, and the rest will applesauce and apple butter by the end of the week.  I like to make sure I’ve got a pantry full of fall, to last until next year’s trip to Apple Hill.

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