joanna irl

2020 is a lot but at least there’s apple picking

Y’know, I had good intentions with getting back into blogging regularly post-grad school, but this year has been A Thing, so I guess just appreciate that this is getting attention at all. ­čśë

We haven’t really gone anywhere (other than J going on a floaty float for work) in six months. The air has been *not good* thanks to wildfire smoke. Outdoor spaces are crowded at best and overrun at worst. Everything is just A Lot, is what I’m saying.

side of highway with golden brown fields and hazy mountains in the distance

But a couple of Mondays ago I happened to see a post from a newly-opened-for-the-season apple orchard in Julian that was open on Mondays. The air quality happened to be okay that day. And J was home on a random day off. So! Off to Julian we went on a last minute day trip to the mountains!

sunflowers in left-third of photo with hazy mountains behind

It was exactly what we both needed.

orchard row with dirt ground going toward mountains, apple trees covered in apples on either side

Because it was a Monday, we had the orchard nearly to ourselves, which meant we could walk around the back areas without masks (a complete novelty right now!) and take a few photos.

Jared picks an apple from a tree; he's wearing a wide brim hat and glasses, and smiling as he looks over his shoulder

The apples are varieties I’m not as familiar with. We’ve never gone picking up in Julian because it’s such a short season, and often crowded with folks driving up from San Diego, and hot.

close up view of two apples sitting against a tree branch with more apples in background behind them

And it was, indeed, hot. Especially compared to the big farms with large orchards we visited in the midwest.

Jared and Jo sitting under an apple tree smiling. Jared is holding up a full bag of apples.

Despite the heat, it felt good to be outdoors, and we picked two bags of apples. We even drove into town to peek around and managed to score parking right by the Cider Mill to run in and get apple butter! We stopped by the Pie Company on the way out of town and bought the last dozen apple cider doughnuts to round out the day and headed home, tired but happy.

cider doughnuts with sugar coating sitting on checkered paper in a carbboard box

Honestly, I’m not sure I could recreate the perfect timing of it all. But we’ve got a pile of apples for the fall now and I have treats stashed in the freezer for later, and even today the heat has broken and it *almost* (not really, but for San Diego) feels like early autumn.

It’s the little things like this getting me through the year.

two pairs of feet sticking out from viewer (POV: sitting in the orchard) with a bag of apples between them. Apple trees stretch into the distance.
joanna irl

Snowy Day and Hot Apple Pies in Julian, CA

A couple of days after J got back from deployment (read: after the jetlag was basically over), we decided to start exploring beyond our neighborhood. For our first foray, we chose the quaint town of Julian.

Julian is up in the mountains, and was originally a gold mining town (as so many places were), but now is famous for one thing in particular:

Apple pies.

There is still a small town feel to the place, though, with plenty of little shops and restaurants, so J and I decided to spend an afternoon up there.

As we drove up into the mountains, though, the temperature kept dropping… and as we rounded the bend and saw the sign for Julian, we started catching glimpses of something along the roadside.

Once we passed a certain elevation, we knew for sure: Snow.

Julian snowy roadsIt certainly made for a pretty drive, and it was just old enough that the roads were clear. I was very glad of my coat, though; at home it was in the 70s that day! It was lunch time when we arrived, so we went into the first restaurant we saw, which happened to be a soda shop. I treated myself to a fountain vanilla coke, and watched them stir the vanilla and soda syrup together, then add the carbonated water and ice. Very cool and very tasty. After lunch, we visited their pioneer museum, made mostly of donations from people in the town and containing all sorts of interesting bits and bobs. Then it was time for pies!

Julian apple pie signThere are multiple bakeries on the main street, many of them with windows like these where you can walk up and order. Having never been to Julian, J and I decided to try a couple of places, and split the slices of pie.

Julian pies for saleAnother problem is choosing which type of pie to try! We settled on a plain apple crumble with cheese on top first. Then another apple crumble with vanilla ice cream.

Julian pie sliceYes, we had ice cream in the cold. But it was worth it with the fresh-from-the-oven pie.

DSC_9309Y’know, plus coffee. We got a pastry crust pie to take home (which turned out to be very good as well– we ate it over the next week or so). Julian has more than just apple pies, though. You can also get apple butter, apple cider and apple blossom honey! All of which also came home with us. ^_^

(Julian photos start here, so you can  just click through them.)