Monday, November 7, 2011

An Educational and Adventurous Saturday in November

  On Saturday, Mom, Eric, Uncle Kirk, and I loaded up to drive to Century Farm Orchards, about an hour's drive northeast from Winston-Salem. 
  A picturesque fall day with the leaves at their peak- we were headed to the Old Southern apple specialists, the Vernon family who has been running the farm for over a hundred years. Because many of them are teachers, their hours are limited and are only open Saturdays in November to see the orchard and purchase trees!

  We had explored the catalog of apples, pears and figs beforehand and had pre-ordered a few to add to the pack, but once we stepped up to the massive table of apples, we knew we were in for a delicious education. Off the bat, the Goldrush apple made a very sweet impression. It had three times the intensity of others of its size and color and description. Not all are eating apples, of course. Some are best for cooking or for hard cider. A hearty fan of hard cider, I made sure the Hewe's Crab apple- described as making the finest cider- would be coming home with us. 

  In the end, we brought home 15 new trees, including a Goldrush apple, a Hewe's crab apple, a Magnum Bonum apple, 2 Royal Limbertwig apples, two Seckel Pears, 2 Black Violette figs, 2 Brown Turkey figs, 2 Celeste figs, and 2 Italian Golden Honey Fig!!!! Along the way, we listened to bluegrass music in the old tobacco barn, watched a demo of how to plant the trees, and wandered the hills of the orchard.
  Fully satisfied with our planned adventure, we nonetheless couldn't help stopping at the Perkins Ostrich Farm to purchase ostrich meat. The farm is owned by Jake, Jake the Snake, an 88-year old man who WILL live to one hundred and quite the charmer. He schooled us in ostrich as we googly-eyed the birds whose flexible necks bobbed around us, their strong jaws without teeth still intimidating. Ostriches can live up to 80 years, weigh 600 lbs. and are fascinating. The babies resembled giraffe dinosaurs, truly. 
   If you want Old Southern apples, there is no better than Century Farm Orchards and with the gorgeous road trip on 158, bluegrass music in an old tobacco barn at the orchard, and a stop at the ostrich farm, this was a perfect November excursion.