By TRESA ERICKSON & MICHAEL HALLISEY
ALTAMONT — Just a few short weeks ago, the fairgrounds reminded all of the best of summer, but this week that will all change.
The Capital Region Apple & Wine Festival kicks off for a two-day stint at the Altamont Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17 and 18.
General admission is $8, with children under 15 years old free when accompanied by adult.
Advance tickets are on sale at all Price Chopper stores, but the sale ends Friday, Sept. 16.
Food vendors, a car show and a juried arts and crafts show will be among the festival’s activities. A wine tasting featuring New York’s finest wineries and cooking demonstrations by Pampered Chef will also be on hand.
The festival is just another reminder of the fruits and bounty available locally as the seasons turn.
Fall is known for many things, corn mazes, mums and more. But perhaps nothing says fall more than u-pick produce, and among the favorites are apples. There are a lot of things you can do with apples from displaying them in centerpieces to turning them into scrumptious cakes and pies. Here are some tips to ensure you have a good apple pick, along with a recipe for apple cider.
When you get to the orchard, find out what apple varieties are ripe and go from there. While everyone has their own method for picking apples, most agree you should not shake the tree, as this could result in more bruised apples than you care for. Instead, you should look for a tree filled with apples and pick from the sunny side first. The best apples will be firm and free of bruises, insect holes and other damage. When you are ready to pick an apple, place your palm around it, twist it half a turn, and it should come off easily. If it does not, it may not be ripe enough to pick. Another method is to roll the apple upside down to release the stem from the branch. Whatever method you use, try not to disturb the leaves or buds. You do not want to harm the tree.
You should treat the apples you pick with care. Place them gently into your bag or basket to reduce the risk of bruising, and once you get them home, store them in a cool spot away from other produce to reduce the risk of spoiling. There are many dishes you can make with freshly picked apples. If the day is rather brisk, you might want to make some hot cider. Hot apple cider on a cold day made from the apples you picked. Who wouldn’t enjoy that? Not an apple cider fan? No problem. There are dozens of other recipes requiring freshly picked apples.