An Apple a Day Keeps the Cold Calls Away

With fall in full force, it is time to get out of Cambridge and enjoy the turning of the leaves. A great day trip in New England is just minutes away on the Mass Turnpike, in a small town called Bolton. New Section E went out to Nashoba Winery & Orchard this past Saturday to enjoy a day of apple-picking and wine- tasting. As a relative new comer to apple picking, I had a blast learning about the different kinds of apples and doing some taste-testing along the way.

The orchard is nestled off a country road about forty-five minutes North-West of Boston. Settled in between a small lake and a sea of colored trees, the main building houses a full-service winery and a fantastic restaurant. The orchards, off to the back, are brimming with apples such as Baldwin, Yellow Delicious, and Golden Russet.

For the adults, I would recommend arriving in the mid-afternoon and signing up for the wine-tasting tour. The presentation, for a nominal fee of $3 per person, includes a guided tour of the wine-making facilities and a complementary wine-tasting. It’s great for people who love wine, but don’t know too much about the wine-making process.

While you are waiting for your tour, grab a “peck” or a “1/2 bushel” bag and start down the dusty road to the orchards. The staff at the information booth is very helpful and will provide a map of the areas that are ripe for picking. Apple season is almost over, but we still picked some great tart Baldwins and Yellow Delicious apples that truly lived up to their names. If you want to make this a family trip, Nashoba offers hayrides and “pick your own” pumpkin patches. Dogs are also welcome and we saw several take part in the apple picking process.

After you pick, leave some time for the wine-tasting. Nashoba has a host of fruit wines that are both interesting and flavorful. While I would suggest trying as many as you can, I found that the more traditional wines, with just a small hint of fruit flavor, such as the Blueberry Merlot and Chardonnay, were the most pleasing to the palette. For those with a little more time on their hands, buy a bottle and sit out on the deck to enjoy the country air.

When I got home that evening, I had to figure out what to do with all those apples! I worked on a recipe that I think makes a great fall gift for all of your new friends. It’s a quick apple cinnamon loaf that can be made with any kind of apples (so if you don’t pick your own, store-bought will also do). Served with ice cream, it is a warm treat for all those cold nights ahead of us.

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

4 eggs
3 cups of peeled & cubed apples
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup walnuts
1 1/2 sticks of
unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
3/4 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Beat eggs and add melted butter, apples, vanilla and walnuts. Combine dry ingredients and mix alternatively into batter. Pour into 4-5 mini loaf non-stick pans. Cook at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.