Farm to Table: Apple Picking Picnic Party

Until I moved to the East Coast, apple picking was never on my radar (in So Cal, you pay more attention to citrus and avocados trees). But since moving to New York, apple picking has become one of my favorite fall activities. And now that we have our country cottage, we have made it a tradition to go during peak season. Last weekend, was our first trip. Victor and I, decided that we would ring in the fall by inviting a few friends and family for an afternoon at the local apple orchard...

No matter the age, all seem to have fun apple picking. It can be adults only or all about the kids.

Before heading out to harvest, I like to set-up the picnic and drink a cup of hot apple cider, especially if it is later in the season. Once everyone is warmed up then it is time to gather the goods.

After everyone has reached their apple picking quota, it's time to kick-off the wellies and eat!

Picnicking is all about a simple no-fuss menu. Keep the utensils to a minimum and choose seasonal ingredients while also highlighting the star of the day, apples.

I packed up a picnic basket with Butternut Squash & Apple Harvest Soup (recipe below), as well as an array of finger sandwiches - the favorite combo was the Pear with Goat Cheese, Rosemary Honey and Arugula. Additionally, I offered a variety of bottled beverages such as cider, ginger and root beer.

I laid out some cutting boards, knives and individual ramekins so that the fresh picked apples could be sliced and dipped into different nut butters and honey.

The season has only just begun so think about throwing your own Apple Picking Party. We definitely plan to have another orchard trip in October. In the meantime, I am making good use of all the red beauties we picked. You will be sure to find more apple recipes on the blog next week. 

Butternut Squash & Apple Harvest Soup 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped  
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 4  cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup organic apple cider

  1. Warm the  olive oil, onions, garlic and leeks in a large stock pot until translucent.  
  2. Add curry powder and cinnamon; cook about 1 minute.
  3. Add the squash, apples, and carrots to the pot along with the water. 
  4. Add salt and pepper. 
  5. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender.
  6. Let is cool.
  7. Working in batches, puree in a  blender until smooth. Pour back into pot and add apple cider to get the desired consistency and adjust seasoning, as necessary.
  8. Ready to serve.
*For a picnic, transport the warm soup in a thermos and serve in mugs. Can make a day or two before and heat up.