Picking Apples at Pickering Brook

Can you see them?

No? Can you see them now?
Now you can

"Appoles," the apple of my eye would say. 

If you have no interest to be out in the open picking fruits, watching how excited your child is during the activity will. I didn't have to rely on the infectious enthusiasm of Albany to get in the mood. The first apple I picked went straight to my mouth for a bite. 

It was a Pink Lady. I usually hate this species of apple but that one was different. The skin of the apple was dull and felt rougher to the feel, unlike those in the shop spotting an awkward sheen on every apple. A layer of wax, I was told. It was supposed to extend shelf life but it makes apples taste like crap and the extra ingredient also don't do our bodies much good. "Peel the skin," they said. Nah. That defeats the whole purpose. How would you like it if I ask you to remove the skin of a KFC chicken and eat the meat?

I like eating apples off the skin but since they taste crappy these days, I have been avoiding buying apples. I know that is not a good idea, since, "An apple a day, keeps the doctor away." How does that work nowadays, with crappy apples that taste like candles? The only way to keep doctors away is to throw apples at them on sight. Besides, there is no point buying apples if nobody eats them. I have lost count how many times I threw apples away with skin as wrinkled as Ho Ching's.

Mind you, I am not implying that those apples that we were allowed to pick at 50 McCorkill Road, Pickering Brook, was super organic with no harmful ingredients used to grow them. We wouldn't know. I didn't bother to ask because no farmer, shop keeper or business owner will ever admit their questionable methods, if any are used in the process of bringing food to the retail display.

I could, however, trust my sense of taste. Plucked straight off the tree and tasted brilliant. If there was any foul play, it would take a PRC-level farmer to pull that off. Most of the Australian farmers have no time for that, at least for now. I took a glimpse of the grinning farm owner tooting around with a toddler in his big tractor and thought, "I could trust this guy," and took another bite off the apple.

I enjoyed the experience throughout. Albany was skipping along with us and picking apples like a hardworking harvester. The grass was long but not enough to create problems for us to push little Anthony along, who looked like he appreciated the sunlight and the cool fresh air up the hills. The wife looked happy and so did her mother, my MIL.

The price of the full box of apples we picked (left) was $25. It was a reasonable price, considering every apple was fresh and crunchy. The box felt heavy to me, ranging anywhere from 12-20kg. I didn't struggle with carrying 15kg boxes at work like I did with that box. So I suspect it would be 15kg at least. However, even at 10kg, the apples would be a decent $2.50/kg or $1.25/kg if it was closer to 20kg. We could probably buy cheaper apples at the wholesale centre but it wouldn't the same quality. Considering that was a family excursion, $25 for the entry fee, event and a box full of good apples to bring home, no one would say it wasn't a good idea.

I am beginning to get the hang of these harvest timings. The last time we visited Pickering Brook, the apple trees were all botak. When we drove through the famous Swan Valley during our first Winter here, the vineyards were all botak too. By now, I know when it is time to harvest strawberries, apples, persimmons and grapes. Would you like to experience picking apples from trees? I should start organising Homestay & Harvest Tours for Singaporeans some day.

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