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THE DISH: Tasty apples right from the trees

Saturday November 3 2018

A bag of fresh apples picked from the orchard in Boston.

A bag of fresh apples picked from the orchard in Boston. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA 

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American summers are so idyllic.

In the movies, at least, everything is always falling into place perfectly, from the weather to the boy you like at school, etc.

Summer is the perfect season, after spring, when everything has already grown and is now in full, beautiful bloom.

It's the best place to go, if you don't fancy a white Christmas winter wonderland type holiday.

That being said, the range of activities to do during the summer are vast – which is probably why they put their school holidays for that entire season, from around June to around late August.

It's the opportune time for people to swim, go visit their family, climb mountains, go diving – all that fun stuff that is best done during hot weather, before enjoying yourself outside is a thing of the past.

Tree leaves are changing as fall draws near.

Tree leaves are changing as fall draws near. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA


One thing I've always wanted to do in America is go apple picking. I know it sounds random, but for some reason or another just the idea of apple picking fascinates me.

Forget the fact that there are so many things that can be made from apples – apple pie, candied apples, cider, cider doughnuts, eating the plain apple itself – it's just so amusing to me that people go into an orchard and pick fruits for themselves, put them in an overflowing bag for a few paltry dollars and take the whole bushel home! People pay to harvest.

Part of the orchard.

Part of the Boston orchard. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA

In Kenya people do this to survive, and here, it's a summer activity.

Though that's not what entrances me about it – just the general idea to me is interesting, mostly because it is different.

So, one fine summer day, my sister-in-law and my nephew and nieces went to an orchard about 30 minutes from where they live and I had the true American apple picking experience.

First we were taken via tractor onto a pumpkin field, to pick the pumpkins that they were planning to use for carving during Halloween.

Those pumpkins are then paid for according to size, and we were taken back to the entrance of the farm to then go check out the apples section.

The warning outside the orchard.

The warning outside the orchard in Boston. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA


They give you a bag that you're told not to overfill (everyone does though) and then you walk to the orchard.

Lines are divided according to the breed of the apple, e.g. McIntosh, Macoun. You then walk along the lines and pick the ones you want as they hang from the trees. And, you can eat them as you pick them, if you really want to.

It feels very Garden of Eden-y, and I have a few silly pictures of myself peeking out from the bushes, but I choose not to share here.

My little nephew thought it was a game where we pick apples and take a bite out of each one before putting them into the bag we carried. There was massive damage control to be done, needless to say.

There was also a place to pick raspberries, but they didn't seem to be in season, so we finished with our apples and kept it moving.

The apple trees.

The apple trees in the Boston orchard. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA


This farm, that has been run by the same family for generations, had a little store that you could buy farm-made products from such as soaps, wooden ornaments and other apple products (the cider doughnuts I mentioned before, for example – hot and fresh with a tang of spice. They don't make them anywhere else outside Boston).

They also had candied apples, which, for the sake of tasting everything, I tried – and almost gave myself a cavity.

They basically dip a regular apple in toffee or caramel, and it solidifies, so that when you bite into it, you are eating, basically, manufactured sugar from the toffee, then more sugar from the apple. It was way too much sugar for me, I couldn't finish it.

That being said, as we sat in the playground eating our snacks and watching the waving of the trees that had already started going autumnal, it did feel exactly like the idyllic scenes I watched as a child on television, but it was much, much better in real life. As one would hope one's dreams to be.


Wondering where to get the 411 on what's happening in and around Nairobi's foodie scene? There's a lot of places you could go, but here's where we want you to be – getting the dish on the dish. Get it? We knew you would.