Sunday, October 28, 2012

Washington apples

Washington State is justifiably famous for its apples. They're crisp, delicious and nutritious. They're one of the state's top agricultural exports.

Saturday we made our annual trip north to Tieton, a small community in the foothills of the central Cascades, where we spent the day making apple juice at my husband's cousin's farm where they have a small apple orchard, growing a variety of apples that all go into the juice.

This is an event we look forward to every year around Halloween. There is nothing better than drinking a glass of fresh-squeezed juice as it comes off the press. Most of us don't even wait until it's been through the strainer to remove little bits of peels and apple chunks that might be in it.

This year wasn't as much fun but only because of the weather. It is no fun picking apples, washing them in a huge iron tub, throwing them into the apple press when it's raining and then bottling it. We were human Popsicles by the time we were through.

Luckily, we didn't have to squeeze as many gallons as we usually do, somewhere between 200 and 300 gallons a year. That's because not as many people showed up due to the rain. The cousins have a rule: You can have as much juice as you want as long as you help make the juice for their freezers. Usually we spend the morning squeezing juice for all of us and the afternoon making their 70 gallons or so. This year, we'd started on their juice well before lunch time.

The jugs of juice freeze well, which means we can enjoy this treat throughout the year. Yea! for Washington apples!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chukar Cherries

One of the places we like to go on Sunday afternoon drives is Prosser, usually riding our motor scooters over the back roads. Once at Prosser, we head straight for Chukar Cherries.

If you like your chocolate with a little fruit or some nuts, this is the place to go. Diets be damned!

Chukar Cherries started out by coating dried cherries in rich milk chocolate, and then expanded their line of gourmet goodies from there.

A recent article in the local newspaper expounded on the firm's success since it was founded in 1988. It also details the processes by which the different products are made.

Chukar Cherries makes a great stop when you're tired of freeway driving. Just take the Prosser exit 80 off I-82, then drive past the rest area until you get to Chukar Cherries,about a mile I'm guessing.

Prosser is also a great place to stop to sample Washington wines. Wineries are scattered throughout the Prosser area, but Wine Country Road has a nice concentration of them.