Hi, I'm Lu!

A PhD Student at University of Chicago who loves discovering the world and trying new eats! Hope you enjoy!

Michigan apple picking

Michigan apple picking

IMG_9480 Michigan
IMG_9480 Michigan
IMG_9481 Pumpkins
IMG_9481 Pumpkins

During this rare, gorgeous autumn weekend in the Midwest, we headed over to Michigan with some friends to pick ripened apples at Big Dan's U-Pick'em and check out the leaves changing from green to an entire palette of colors!When we arrived at Big Dan's, we were greeted with a huge selection of pumpkins!  Unfortunately, living in a high rise, we don't really have a place to display a carved pumpkin, so we had to bypass these and head straight for the apple picking.

DCIM664GOPRO
DCIM664GOPRO

At Big Dan's, they have these huge tractors that cart you around to the apple trees of your choice.  It's especially great for the way back, when our baskets were filled with heavy apples!  Andrew and I had purchased a GoPro just to try it out, and I'd say it's pretty decent for taking selfies!

IMG_9424 Lake Van Auken
IMG_9424 Lake Van Auken

One issue we had at Big Dan's was actually finding those perfect apples you get at the grocery store.  Right when we saw the first couple trees, we realized it would be a difficult task since most of those perfectly round, unbruised, non-buggy apples had already been picked!  But the ones up top were still good, so the guys basically incorporated themselves into the apple trees to pick them.

Andrew and tree
Andrew and tree

I still can't get over how beautiful and peaceful it was this weekend!  Certainly was a nice break from bustling Chicago where I have a never-ending to-do list.

IMG_9412 Lake Van Auken
IMG_9412 Lake Van Auken

Our favorite apples were definitely the crispy, tart mutsu apples that were in season.  Andrew and I also found some leftover honey crisp apples that had been in season last month, and they were spectacular!  Unluckily, we only found two of those.  We also tried out the granny smith apples, which are not all fully ripe.  I think another week or so should do the trick so if you are looking for granny smith apples for those apple pies, next weekend is the time to go!

IMG_9507 Big Dan's apple orchard
IMG_9507 Big Dan's apple orchard

Considering how difficult it was to balance those apples, it's a good thing William Tell didn't walk by and practice with the apples atop our shaking heads!

IMG_9517 Andrew, Patrick, Boping, Will, Nicole, Molly, Lu
IMG_9517 Andrew, Patrick, Boping, Will, Nicole, Molly, Lu
Lake Van Auken
Lake Van Auken

Back in the market section of Big Dan's was a selection of already picked apples and other goodies, such as the rich apple cider!  You may also want to purchase some of their raw and unfiltered honey!

IMG_9491 Apples
IMG_9491 Apples

It's been a while since I've taken part in this ultimate autumn pastime, and it's certainly great to have tons of fresh apples for baking Nigella Lawson's "healthy" apple honey cinnamon muffins!

Tips:

  1. There's free parking at Big Dan's.
  2. Get some of the amazing apple cider at Big Dan's!  Definitely wish we brought back more than half a gallon.
  3. The honey crisp are no longer in season, but the granny smith are going to ripen in this next week.
  4. Definitely suggest going for some mutsu apples - they were our favorite!
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