Going apple picking in Summertown makes me happy. Perhaps because it is simple and wholesome or maybe it is the picturesque and short drive into the hills. I'm not really sure why - but being there makes me smile, and generally everyone else there seems to be having a glorious time as well.
Some sit under the trees and picnic, others snap pictures of each other, while children skip through the orchard, picking and eating apples or looking for the ladders hidden among the trees. There are many varieties of apples and if you ask, you will find out what is best now and what will be good in a few weeks, which variety is over, and which is best for baking.
As for tasting them, it is encouraged by a subtle "don't forget to try one while you are picking" comment as you enter. My children bolt for the back of the orchard where my eldest son knows exactly where to find the Fuji trees. My younger two boys look for the Granny Smiths and my daughter tries a Jonathan, than opts for the smaller crispy Golden apples and fills her bag. All apples were $1.20 /kilo when we were there and there are usually other fruits and vegetables on offer in pails on the way out.
It is difficult to leave without picking up a 2 litre jug of delicious fresh apple juice, not to mention the homemade jams and lemon curd. Don't forget to bring shopping bags to carry home the load.
You can pick any Saturday or Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, until the apples are finished (usually sometime in June). The address is Hollidays Road in Summertown, off Greenhill Rd. If you happen to be there on the first or third Sunday of a month, the Uraidla Market is on around the corner and a great stop for morning tea or to pick up some fresh produce.
Otherwise, you can race home, get out the cookbooks and get into the kitchen. After this last trip, my daughter made a delightful apple pie and we tried an apple gingerbread, as well as our favourite apple crisp recipe. We still have a few left for lunchboxes, but may have to head back again soon!