This is apple country.
A few weeks ago, we finally got to visit Apple Country Orchards. Situated right off the road a few miles east of Idalou, I'd seen these orchards dozens of times driving the long stretch of 114 to Dallas. Each time I passed it, the trees blossoming or sleeping empty with the season, I wanted to stop and explore. I finally got my chance.
The 6,000 tree orchard is run by Cal Brints, who knew I was coming. We ate a BBQ lunch with tart potato salad, smoky baked beans, and - you guessed it - homemade apple pie. I had lots of questions for Cal, the first of which was, "What is the name of your dog?" "Red," he said.
The apples in our country are some of the sweetest in the nation, he explained. The constant sun concentrates the sugars in the apples, making them very, very good. It was 100 degrees the day we went.
The weekend we visited, Cal was working on de-fruiting the trees. All the trees we saw were thick with budding fruit. Too much fruit means not enough room for the fruit to grow.
Since picking season hadn't started yet, I settled for their apple butter and fresh cotton blossom honey. Choosing from all their canned goods was hard!