Picking apples at a farm near you

It’s apple season and there are orchards and markets across the country overflowing with apples. There are pies to be made, apple butter to cook and harvest festivals to attend.

Before you bite into that next apple, here’s a bit about its history:

The apple tree originated in Western Asia, where you can sill find its wild ancestor today. Archeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since at least 6500 B.C. After thousand years of cultivation, there are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, resulting in a range of characteristics from color to crispness. Apples were brought to North America with colonists in the 1600s, and the first apple orchard was said to have been planted near Boston in 1625. Apples must cross-pollinate to develop fruit. With the large decline in natural bee populations over the recent years, apple growers usually bring in hives of pollinators to carry the pollen during the flowering season.

With apples being grown all across the country, there’s probably a festival near you. Find an orchard or festival and have fun!


Farmer’s markets with tomatoes, peaches and more

It’s time to get out and visit your local farmer’s market. You’ll find vegetables, fruit, flowers, cheese, meats, eggs and much, much more at a farmers’ market near you.

Why buy local? Why buy fresh?

  • Locally grown and produced foods are wonderfully fresh and delicious…..local farmers often pick and sell within 24 hours.
  • Buying local gives you freedom of choice for your health and nutrition….. you know where your food comes from.
  • You can try new and unusual produce…..just ask the farmer their favorite way of preparing what they grow.
  • Local farmers can offer produce grown for its great taste…..not grown to stay “fresh” on a supermarket shelf for days and days.
  • Buying local helps the environment…..on average conventionally grown food travels 2,000 miles from field to plate.
  • You can support family farmers….. each local food purchase helps keep your surrounding communities strong.

So grab your favorite shopping bag and visit a local farmers’ market or two. You’ll be amazed at what you will find.

Where will you find your next treasure?

I confess to having 8 quilts, 10 hostess aprons, 9 saltcellars, and 2 chandeliers  – all from antique and thrift stores. I simply love to stop into antique malls in small towns and to slip into thrift stores in big cities. I still miss the huge thrift store in the Mission district of San Francisco. I don’t know of anywhere else that has fun and funky clothes sold by the pound.

My latest finds are 2 cut crystal coasters that were made to hold drinking glasses on a table. I realized when I picked them up that old coasters are the perfect size to hold pillar candles. My dining room table now has two beautiful and elegant candleholders that were just 2 dollars apiece. My guess is that so few people use the crystal or silver coasters anymore that there isn’t much of a market for them… but as candleholders, they are perfect.

I always keep my eye out for old silver plate flatware. I have a collection of mismatched forks, knives, and spoons that I use for backyard parties. This is a fun and inexpensive item to buy at flea markets. Since I haven’t tried to match patterns and simply buy a fork or knife here or there, I have quite a collection now.

Shopping must be in the air because the thrift shops and antique stores are calling my name. I guess it’s time to hunt for more crystal coasters.