This has become my Fall Sanctuary.

Virginians flock every Autumn weekend to this mini-mountain.  By afternoon, Carter Mountain swarms with hip locals and [overexcited] awkward suburbanites; a hodgepodge of personalities that could easily inspire an SNL skit.  The joy of picking apples is like finding gold.  Children run through the orchards grabbing un-ripe green apples and yanking them from trees.  Little do they know the apples they’ve picked will make their little mouths pucker with overwhelming bitterness.   Their jaded joy and silliness makes it A-ok.

Adults elicit more excitement and determination than the kids.  Personally, I can’t resist smiling when I’ve found a perfect red, ripe apple. I even adore the sound of the snap when it’s plucked from a branch.  Simple sounds like this can make the soul satisfied.

My lady and I failed to remember that trudging through the orchard is comparable to a mini-hike.  We were quickly reminded when her Toms and my un-broken-in cowboy boots became uncomfortable.

We picked around 25 apples (Staymans and Winesaps), grabbed a few jars of apple butter, a dry apple crisp mix, and half a dozen apple cider donuts.

We grabbed an early dinner in the downtown mall and headed home.  After getting back to our casa, I immediately gravitated towards the kitchen to put my freshly picked apples to work.  Apple Pie, baby.

Here’s the recipe I used, it was a little simple so I snazzed it up a little…


Guilty…refrigerated pie crusts         1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted buttah                 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour        1 tbsp Mexican Vanilla
1/2 cup white sugar                       8 Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar                      1 egg


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.

2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid slowly so that it does not run off. Cover with other pie crust pinching the edges, if you’re feeling real fancy pants, try a lattice work crust. Brush with melted butter.

3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F, brush pie pastry with beaten egg (sometimes I mix with a little milk and sugar). Wrap foil around edges to prevent crumbly burnt outer crust. Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

4. Let sit and cool until you can’t take it anymore. Slice, share, and enjoy.

In true Julia Child fashion, Bon Appetit.

Carter Mountain is open until December, check out what apples are available to pick, recipes, and directions here


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