A Trip to Apple Annie's to Pick Apples
It Was A Fun Day
About 100 miles southeast of Tucson is the city of Wilcox. Wilcox and the surrounding area sit in a valley that was once an ancient lake. The chief industry is farming and, in the past couple of decades, the farms have converted from Arizona's traditional crop of cotton to fruits and vegetables. There are many orchards with apples, peaches and pears. Scattered between the orchards are fields of corn, squash, pumpkins and beans.
This is typical farm country except that these are really not farms so much as theme parks and the main industry is really tourism. You see, city dwellers, like us, drive all the way from Tucson, or even Phoenix which is an additional hundred plus mile drive, for the chance to spend an afternoon working in the fields and orchards picking their own food. Then, upon returning from the fields, loaded down with their produce, these people line up at the cash register to pay for the food that they just harvested. On top of that, they end up paying the same price per pound, or more, as they would if they had just driven to their neighborhood grocery store and picked the food up off the shelf.
We Found It.
Awaiting Our Ride to the Orchard
At Work in the Orchard
High-Tech Harvesting Tools
Buy Your Own Fruit Picker
Fresh Air and Memories
Since my wife's day off was Saturday and, not having left town since returning from our vacation, we decided to spend the day in the country picking apples.
My son, Victor, eagerly joined us as this was something
we used to do each Fall when he and his brother were younger. Then, as now, the fruits of our labor were converted into homemade apple sauce and apple pies in the days after our trip.
However, my step-son, Vadim, was less than eager and some arm twisting was needed to get him to join us. He had a difficult time understanding why I would want to drive 100 miles to pick apples and pay seventy-nine cents a pound for them when I could drive two miles and get the same apples and pay the same price at the grocery store.
Of course, one of Vadim's sets of grandparents live in a village outside of Ryazan, Russia where he and his sister lived with my wife before they came here. A train ran regularly between Ryazan and the village and he used to spend many weekends and summers visiting his grandparents in the country - frankly, the computer in his bedroom with unlimited Internet access held more appeal for him than a day in the country picking apples.
Exiting the freeway, we left the desert behind and entered the irrigated valley surrounding Wilcox , then headed for Apple Annie's orchard. As we drove through the valley, Victor and I reminisced about previous trips here to pick apples and pumpkins. I told about trips as a child to the country to buy apples from stands farmers had in front of their homes.
My wife, Bella, then told about how, as a college student in the 1970s, buses would come to the campus each September and take the students to a nearby collective farm. For the next two months the students would spend all day, seven days a week, in the fields following a tractor and picking potatoes or other crop. There was neither choice nor pay, you just did it. Toward the end of October, the buses would return to take the students back to school to resume their studies. While farming doesn't hold a lot of appeal for her, she enjoyed the outing.
As for Vadim, he began to enjoy the outing once we arrived and began picking apples. He was especially happy when I let him take the wheel on the return trip and drive us home.