Day Trip: Apple Annie's Orchard & Farm

Apple Annie's Orchard in Willcox, AZ
Fall fell on Tucson in a big way. Sometimes it seems we have two seasons: Summer and Winter. It's either 100 degrees out and dry as a bone or it's chilly and damp! Today turned out to be the latter in Tucson.

I've been wanting to make a run down to Apple Annie's in Willcox for awhile now. They have apple orchards as well as a large farm that grows veggies. I figured it would be a great way to spend to a day and pick up some excellent farm fresh produce for the kitchen. Buying stuff at the market trucked in from Mexico and South America does get a little old when you're from the south a used to farmer's markets and roadside produce stands everywhere.

I'm not sure Michael was 100% convinced it was a good idea. It was overcast and drizzling rain in Tucson at noon when we finally decided to leave. The temp was hovering around 55 degrees and I had to go back inside and pillage through the drawers until I came up with some long pants! Good news, though, my weight loss is evident as I had to really pull the belt tight on the pair I haven't worn since March!

Michael in the Orchard
Despite the weather we hit I-10 toward Willcox and arrived about 2:30 in the afternoon. This was plenty of time to pick some apples for ourselves before closing time. Alas, being a weekday the place was dead. I finally found the one employee in the "bakery and fudge shop" and we got supplies to hit the orchard. It was a nice walk if a little windy. The sun was shining in Willcox and the temperature was about 70 degrees. But the apples were not to be seen. There were dozens that had fallen and were inedible but very few on the trees. We saw maybe one or two worth picking during our entire walk around the orchard. Finally, we decided to just buy some of the pre-picked ones they had in their bins. I got some Red Delicious which Michael enjoys, along with some Granny Smith to either bake or make into a pie or something. Michael also got some Apple Bread and Apple Butter in their little store. Amazingly, they also had cheese curds but since they were not made in Wisconsin (who heard of Cheese Curds from Ohio?) Michael wouldn't have them. 

We were hoping for better luck at the farm so drove the six or seven miles down the road. The pickings were better there. The fields were beautiful and full of peppers and sunflowers as well as gorgeous orange pumpkins.  We ended up with a huge bag of squash, zucchini and cucumbers. We also got some green beans and a big bag of sweet corn. They had huge displays of pumpkins and other squash so we got a little pumpkin and a larger one for our Halloween decorations. I'd seen some Apple Cider doughnuts at the orchard but managed to resist temptation. When I ran across them again at the farm, I couldn't hold out and had to try some. Yes, they are delicious! I did exercise some modicum of control though and did not eat the entire half dozen!

Lady Snow among the Pumpkins.
We decided to stop off at a Popeye's and pick up some chicken and have a picnic at a rest area between Willcox and Benson. Since we had Snow with us we didn't want to eat in a restaurant where we'd have to leave her in the car. We'd stopped at this rest area as we came into Arizona in 2008. At the time there was snow all over the boulders that surround it. Honestly, it felt almost cold enough to snow when we got out! The thermometer said 63 degrees but with the wind and being in the shadows of the hills... it felt about 30 degrees!

When we finally made it home Michael decided to try some of the corn and put on a couple ears to eat while watching TV. It really was worth the trip - sweet and delicious.

Despite a cold and rainy start to the day, we had a good time and it was nice to get out of town for the day. We've been in Arizona for 3 1/2 years now and there are so many places we've never even bothered to explore. Lots of places Michael has been to years before and he's the type of person that doesn't care to see some place twice. If he's seen it, that's it. So, I relish those times when we actually go somewhere further than the center of the city or the yearly jaunt up to Prescott Valley for the holidays. I inherited my mother's wanderlust but just like her managed to settle down with a man who prefers home. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.