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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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Sarah and I went to Lyman Orchards today. After trying to follow the horrendous directions on their web site, and eventually giving up, turning on the GPS, and really getting there, all was swell. The whole town of Middlefield Connecticut was disturbingly reminiscent of the midwest. Downright scary, in fact. I may be able to get my midwest fix with this, in fact, provided they also spontaneously start producing good beef to boot.

In any event, we went first to apple picking, where we picked up Golden Delicious, Macoun, McIntosh, Jona Gold, Empire, and Red Delicious apples.

There were more apples than I really thought would have been possible in Connecticut (silly me, the whole place used to be farmland), and once polished on my shirt, they looked fantastic.

All had great flavor and texture, and we ended up taking bites out of all of the varieties as we walked through the orchards, getting a feel for what we do and don’t like. So, we now have a 28-pound kitty litter tub full of apples in our fridge. I think we’re going to make some applesauce tomorrow.

After that, we went and picked some sugar pumpkins, with the intent of using them for pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, or something similar.

It’s dirty work, picking pumpkins in a muddy field, but somebody has to do it. They also had the carving variety of pumpkins, but assured the only thing in them that was tasty was their seeds, we elected to pass.

After that, it was a trip to our first corn maze, which was a bit of an experience. The estimate for completion was 45-60 minutes, I think it took us about 20 (and we weren’t using the map), but that’s ok, was still a lot of fun. Not sure how they get off charging $9 a head, but I suppose when it comes down to it, it’s still Connecticut.

There were also hay rides, as well as the opportunity of playing golf on their 36 hole championship course (which looked an awful lot like ski moguls), but not being golfers, we didn’t partake. After the trip through the corn maze, we hit the shop, where I had a cider donut (not as apple-tasting as Curtis Orchards, but a better donut), a grilled burger, and we picked up some currant juice, apple cider, jalapeno jelly, curried pumpkin seeds, and something or other else. They had some phenomenal looking apple pies (apparently the CT favorite), but not being a real big apple pie fan, I didn’t really see the point.

The whole trip was a bit of the good old fashioned fun that I forget you can still have on the east coast, and not surprisingly was entirely Sarah’s idea (I can’t dream these sorts of adventures up). If you’re on the coast, I think it’s worth a few hours to go and do, and remember there’s something other than the city to hold your attention.

After that we tried to hit Penzey’s on the way back to pick up some spices, but couldn’t find the place, and got stranded at Bed Bath and Beyond instead, where we picked up the fanciest fat separator on earth along with a cast-iron skillet so we can do those cool cooktop-to-oven sorts of things. Picked up some cheap cognac for apple sauce manufacture as well, and we’ll see how that goes.