I love fall. (Did I mention that before?) Actually, I love how all the seasons make their beautiful debut and subtle exit over the course of the year here in Northeast Pennsylvania. I truly cannot imagine living in a place where these distinct seasons do not exist.
One of my favorite things about fall is apples. Lots of apples. And apple cider. And apple cake. And apple pie. YUMMY ….. Here in NEPA there are plenty of places to find an abundance of fresh apples in the fall. There are local farmers’ markets, pick-your-own orchards, and even my own backyard.
A tradition for me over the past few years is a fall visit to Ritter’s Cider Mill in Mt. Cobb, PA. This locally owned and operated business offers old-fashioned quality and down-home goodness in both their products and atmosphere. I usually make several trips there during the fall — sometimes with my kids, sometimes with my boyfriend. Interestingly, the different company affords a different perspective of this local gem. When I go with the kids, we partake in more attractions, like their corn maze, wagon ride, and especially the hay barn. Brian and I enjoy things at a slower pace, spending lots of time in the shop stocking up on goodies. 🙂
Ritter’s also has a huge cider press where you can watch Gary Ritter make cider. You can see the whole process including apples in the hopper, traveling up the conveyor belt and into the grinder. Then watch the pulp being pumped to the rack, and the apple cider being squeezed from the pulp layered on the rack. Finally watch the cider being pumped into a refrigerated bulk tank where it is then poured into jugs. Visitors can get a free taste straight from the press or from the bulk tank!
My dad has a cider press — on a much smaller scale, of course. 😉 He would buy apples in bulk from local farmers, and declare a “Cider Day” each fall. I have fond memories of our family gathering around the press to take turns cranking out fresh apple cider. And my mom can bake a mean apple pie. Years ago, she would pick and prepare the apples from the trees in our yard to use for pies. She would freeze some, and we would get to enjoy delicious apple pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners!
During my last visit to Ritter’s, I came home with cinnamon-sugar apple cider donuts, apple cider, and a few apples. There are so many great apple recipes that I love to make, including my mom’s Jewish Apple Cake! Last week Rhianna and I made apple pancakes for breakfast. They were a huge hit!
Here is the recipe if you would like to take advantage of this season’s bounty in a most delicious way. We tried Veronica’s Apple Pancakes from allrecipes.com, and they were super!
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup shredded tart apple
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- In a large bowl, combine butter, egg, milk and apple. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar. Stir flour mixture into apple mixture, just until combined.
- Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
I am tentatively planning another trip to Ritter’s today, with kids in tow. They are being a little rambunctious now, so maybe some hay and horses and fresh air will do them some good! And I KNOW some apple cider donuts will do ME good! ❤