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Posts Tagged ‘farm’

MacounOnPlate2One would always hope that we have reasons to love where we live. As mentioned in previous posts, living in my county in New Jersey provides such simple joys in its natural beauty all year long. Similarly, I love living in the Northeast where we have the largest concentration of deciduous trees, giving us the fabulous Fall colors we love, and four distinct seasons as well. But there’s another simple pleasure …

Apples. We have apples. Beautiful red, gold, green and blushing apples. And farmstands aplenty selling them right from their own orchards. Pictured here is the apple that rose in ranks to my favorite eating apple, the Macoun. Before I’d moved to this side of the state nearly 20 years ago, I’d never heard of it, and up to that point my favorites had been Macintosh and Granny Smith. I loved the tart- sweet flavor of them both, but the Macoun topped all. It has a very specific appearance in contrast to MelicksCider2other apples, a grey “bloom” which you can see in the photo. (One might think it needs a washing, but that is the apple coloration.)

About a mile down the road from where I lived in Pattenburg was Tradition Farms. They had a small farm stand which sold produce from early summer right through Thanksgiving, and it was there I discovered the delicious Macoun. And along with that, their own apple cider which amazingly enough, tasted different each week because the farmer was pressing different apples depending upon what was ripening. I drank a lot of cider during the time I lived there! In addition to that, the farmer offered – and still does – a chart with all the varieties he grows, 32 in all, and their taste, what they’re best for, (eating, pie, sauce, salad), and what time they’d be ripening and at the stand. Want some Ida Reds for pie? Come in late September. Some Gold Rush for applesauce? They’re in in late October.

Pictured in this post are Macouns and cider from another nearby farm, Melick’s, practically an institution in this county. Their cider is also delicious and featured not only at their farm in Oldwick, but also in many local supermarkets.

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We are all fortunate to have such little pleasures around us, whether they be apples or anything that reminds us that the simplest things in life can also be an abundance of riches.

 

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The morning skies were overcast, and the roads were fairly quiet. So I brought along my camera on my trip to the supermarket. The photos below were taken on an approximate 5 minute stretch of my 20-25 minute return trip from food shopping.

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Fields have been tilled and planted. Set far back
from the road, a horse farm.

When I first moved out to this beautiful side of the state, I learned from my neighbors/soon-to-be-friends that we “transplants” were not always welcome here. Of course I asked why. I was shocked by their answer. “Because,” they told me, “no sooner do people move out here than they want a supermarket down the road and a 7-11 on the corner, a MacDonald’s in walking distance, etc. etc., just like they had back in the burbs.”

Needless to say, this made no sense to me either. Why would you move out to the country and want to change it? I very soon adopted their attitude. Don’t like it here? Go back to where you came from. Because here … is gorgeous. As is.

SR-TallTrees2

There are plenty of woodsy roads to be found.

I was enamored of this county the moment I moved out here. The more I drove around and saw, the more I loved it. It is truly the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived.

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Approaching the upcoming curve, I always get excited for what’s to come.

Driving the backroads – passing farms and wide open land, seeing horses, cows, goats and sheep living the life they deserve, through densely forested areas, over burbling creeks, watching crops grow – I just can’t wipe this idiot grin off my face.

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It’s a huge farm with Beltie, (and some Hereford), cattle/cows.

With no one else behind me, I pulled over and took a few shots of the farm across the road, always one of the highlights of my ride. There are numerous large pastures and upon them graze what are known as “Belties” – officially, Belted Galloways.

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Belted Galloways are a heritage breed of beef cattle originating from Galloway in southwestern Scotland. They are known
to be a very hardy breed, originating from the 1700’s.

When I first saw these cows, maybe 15 years ago, I nearly went off the road.  I was utterly transfixed by their markings. It’s no surprise that people, including breeders, sometimes refer to them as Oreo-cookie cows.

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A young Beltie. “I can get that itch if I just stretch far enough.”

At some point, I would like to contact the farm owner and ask if I might go out into the fields with the cows and really do an expansive photo shoot. Cows are such wonderful, sweet and curious animals. However, the bulls out there might not take kindly to me among them, farmer-escorted or not. (Not to mention this might be a major inconvenience for the farmer.) But I can assure you I would be in heaven, just hanging out in their midst and photographing them.

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It’s still spring, and the foliage you see is actually just beginning to bloom.

The next leg of the ride on this particular road has multiple sharp curves heading downhill, banks of trees ascending steeply on either side, until you are essentially in a gorge, but alas, there’s no opportunity to stop for a photograph. When summer is full blown, it’s a riot of dense green – trees, foliage and lots of moss. It reminds me of the parts of New Zealand where they filmed Lord of the Rings.

If I can see such beauty as this in just a tiny part of my ride home from the supermarket, why would I want one on the corner?

Don’t like it here? Let me help you pack!

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The weather is still crisp and perfect for making the most of enjoying the Fall colors and seasonal fare. A friend and I decided to take a short journey to Oldwick, a town in the eastern part of our county.
Our first stop was breakfast at the Oldwick General Store.

OldwickGeneralStore2

Unassuming from the outside and simply furnished within, this converted house offers a variety of delicious home-style foods. You order your meal off the blackboard behind the counter where staff takes your order, gather your utensils, fetch your beverage, and find a table. They’ll give you a shout when your food is ready.

The selection of hot food is always delicious and cooked right there in plain view. Adjacent to this is a deli counter with standard delicatessen fare and a host of delicious made-on-premises salads. And right next to that, a bakery case of rich homemade  treats that is hard to resist. (But I did.) Tasty food, hot coffee, pleasant surroundings and a good friend start the day off right.

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Our next stop was right down the road at Melick’s Town Farm, a family owned farm that has been growing fine produce for several generations. Their apple cider can be found almost anywhere in the county, and their main farm stand, where we stopped, carries a great variety of their own fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers, home-baked breads and sweets, and more.

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Melick’s has many varieties of apples, and if you don’t want to buy by the bushel or pound, you can buy in 1/2 peck bags.

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Only when we were on the way home, did I remember that I’d wanted to buy one of their breads!

MelicksFarm-Muffin2

What I didn’t photograph at Melick’s Farm, but did succumb to, were a couple of their delicious apple cider doughnuts and one fabulous coffee cake muffin, above. It’s hard to resist homemade.

Walk-Beginning2

Once we’d gotten home, we still felt like doing something else, so decided upon a walk. The sky had become a bit overcast, so the autumn hues were not as incandescent as they had been earlier in the sunshine.

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Even so, the feel of Fall was in the air.

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Along our walk, we passed all kinds of weeds … tiny magenta thistles, miniature daisies of some kind, vines. However, this pod, one of many to be found along the path, was fascinating. Closed, they are soft green, hard-shelled pods, but when open, they push out something akin to cotton. At one point along the way, there was a stand of them, looking to my eye not unlike a landing spot for so many aliens.

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They may just be weeds, but even in their texture, they have an interest all their own. Sugar maples are on fire around the next corner.

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.  ~Rachel Carson

 

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