A friend and I visited an apple orchard in our area to celebrate her recent engagement. Sunday was just SUCH a beautiful Fall day to be outdoors. And apparently, the perfect day to be at an apple farm (fried food! hayrides! live music! live… CHICKENS!).

Fun outdoor activities like this make me so happy — MY kind of therapy!

There are several apple farms and orchards in the Pittsburgh area; we decided on Simmons Farm, since their website confirmed we could actually PICK the apples off the tree in the orchard. But no climbing. That was Rule #1. Rule #2 was no stealing. If I had my guess for Rule #3, it would be to NOT fill the bag until it’s so heavy you can barely carry it back to the car.

SOME rules are made to be broken. 😉

Not only did I come home with a half bushel of apples (52 made it to the sink to be washed. I lost 2 in the street and 3 to just plain being “bad apples” — but I also gained a wasp and two dead spiders, the horror!), but I also managed a large pumpkin roll, sugar cookies and apple cider (so wonderful heated up in my mini crockpot, served over rum). I will soon be in treatment for a sugar overdose.

Simmons Farm is South of Pittsburgh in McMurray.
In the North Hills, you’ll find crowd-sourcing favorites: Soergel’s and Shenot Farm & Market.
Pittsburgh also has a number of wonderful farmers markets that carry delicious ripe apples this time of year — probably the same for whichever city you’re in too!

Meanwhile, I will be eating apple-this and apple-that for quite some time. And enjoying every minute of it.

Here’s what I plan to do with some of those 52 apples:
Crockpot Applesauce
Apple Crisp (possibly, multiple individual servings throughout the week — so easy to make in little ramekins!)
Apple Chips
My FAVORITE apple-cranberry oatmeal cookies.

And then a twitter friends recommended a Sharlotka — a Russian Apple Cake — so I attempted it. And the dessert came out MARVELOUS! (and is already half eaten.)

Do you have any additional ideas for my Much To Do About Apples board on PINTEREST?

Edited to add: I just found another apple in the front seat of my car. APPLES EVERYWHERE!

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