After a lifetime of annual one- or two-week stays on Cape Cod every summer, we decided to mix things up and rent a cottage on Lake Champlain this year. Life has been so busy these past few months that I arrived with a limited knowledge and no expectations, so imagine my delight when I realized that we were staying on none other than South Hero Island, also known as “Apple Island.”
An apple island vacation for me? This felt like kismet. We decided to head to the site of Vermont’s first commercial orchard, Allenholm Farm.
Owner Ray Allen can trace his family’s history on that piece of land back to 1870, and their U.S. residency much further. He also makes a mean pie crust, and you can purchase fresh apple pies in the farm’s store.
There was some early harvesting going on when we were there, mostly Jonamacs. Just up the road, Hackett’s Orchard also had some Paula Red, Tydeman Red, and Early McIntosh.
We also spent a lot of time at the Shelburne Museum, where the campus is dotted with dozens of apple trees.
Of course, I record all this with a heavy heart, thinking of the lives and properties lost as a result of Hurricane Irene. I worry about the losses to all those VT farms in this critical growing season. It’s ironic that as we headed back home to the Boston area on Saturday to prepare for the storm, we were sure we were headed toward the higher-risk region.
One last note: Two weeks ago, I promised a follow-up demo on how to roll out pie crust. I had every intention of following through, but logistics got in the way. Several weeks ago, my family moved into a temporary apartment in anticipation of a later move to the 1920s house we’ve been renovating for the past few months. My rolling pin was safely packed into one of many boxes that is currently stored in our new basement and after a dusty half-hour of crawling among the cardboard, I simply couldn’t find it. As soon as I’m on the house and have a chance to unpack, I’ll come through with the post.