Apple Country

On the California coast, there aren’t the usual signs of changing seasons, but there are many places nearby where we can get a fall fix. I love going to the wine country in the fall to watch the vineyards in Napa and Sonoma change colors. It’s a very California-version of New England’s fall foliage (and with better wine to boot). But another sure sign of fall is apples — and for apples, you’ll need to head to Sebastopol.

Sebastopol is the Bay Area’s apple country, and as Mr. WholeHog and I discovered this October, you don’t have to go very far off the beaten path before you find yourself on charming country roads lined with apple orchards. We passed rows of old, gnarled trees hung with bright red apples. In October, some of the trees were so laden with apples that the branches had broken. Some of the apples had fallen from the tree and were nestled in the grass like fall Easter eggs.

We are lucky enough to have friends in Sebastopol with apple orchards, and yet for some reason, we still don’t get up there very often. I grew up visiting family friends in Sebastopol (all of the pictures in this post were taken on their property), although as a kid, I was more interested in their excellent tree house than their excellent apples.

On Saturdays, I work for another apple-growing Sebastopol family at the  farmers market who has introduced me to so many new apple varieties. And this year, Mr. WholeHog and some friends made a trip up to yet another apple grower in Sebastopol (another farmers market vendor), where they picked Rome and Golden Delicious apples and then used an apple press to make fresh juice.

On recent nights, we’ve been heating up the juice they made out of those Sebastopol apples and spiking it with bourbon. It gives me a little taste of fall in the City.

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