Thursday, July 28, 2011

Catoctin Mountain Orchard

When traveling, one of our pleasures is to sample local food.  We will visit farmers markets in season.  More rarely, we visit orchards.  I was excited when I found that our route to Virginia last week would bring us right past an orchard we had visited online, but never in person.

I recently read (in a travelers guide) about this special orchard in rural Maryland, along Highway 15 (the path Lee took his troops on when they invaded the North and ended up at Gettysburg at the beginning of July, 1863).  We are in the heart of fruit season, and while our area excels in apples and blueberries, there are some fruits that just don't grow here.

Like peaches.

Like (commercial) blackberries.

Like plums.

And guess who had them all.

The first thing you see upon your arrival is a variety of cut flowers for sale.  Over on the side of the building are fields of pick-your-own flowers. There is nothing like that in our area.

If the weather had been more temperate I would have taken a nice long break there, but it was so hot in that sun.  So, instead we went indoors.  Greeting us were pints of freshly picked blackberries, assorted white and yellow peaches, and several varieties of plums.  They were offering samples - entire fruits! - of one of the plums, called Methley.  They were so sweet.

We purchased some apple/cherry cider made locally in nearby Frederick, MD and decided we would return on our way back to upstate NY to pick up some fruit.

This time, they were sampling something called a Cameo apple.  Supposedly a natural cross between a Red and Golden Delicious, it does resemble a Red Delicious in shape and color.  However, unlike a Red Delicious, it is so crisp.    We didn't buy any, but we did pick up some plums.  (we had already bought so much produce at Grand mart in Centreville, VA, that our car was in serious danger of bursting.)

On the way out we treated ourselves to one more view of the lovely flowers.

What a beautiful location this is in.

One day, I hope to return. 

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