Last week, we shared a first with our son: our first and biggest apple picking day in a huge apple farm. In other words, we participated in Appelplukdag 2015. The event had been organized in Mierhoopweg, Wijer-Nieuwerkerken region, and it took us about 1 hour of relaxed driving on a late Sunday morning. During the final moments of our drive, the scenery made us think we were figures in a painting depicting a pastoral scene. When we arrived at the apple (and pear) farm, we saw a huge crowd; hundreds, if not thousands, of cars, slowly being guided by young people to an available parking spot. After you left your car, you had a few choices: take a slow walk on a narrow lane to reach the main event, wait for a big tractor and its attached cart and jump on it, or, leave the nostalgia and get on the horse cart drawn by strong Belgian horses.
Our son was very excited and he was very happy because he was able to easily reach and grab apples from short trees, and stack them in a paper box. After some time among the trees, we took our box full of apples and brought them to one of the stands so that one of the farmers could weigh it on a scale. The farmer told us that 1 kg of apples cost 0.5€ and that if gave 8 kg of apples, we could get 5 liters of apple juice. Since we had more than 8 kg, we decided to exchange them with some freshly pressed apple juice and keep the rest of the box. Then we visited a huge storage area where there were many stands, selling all sorts of home-made pies, cookies, as well as hamburgers, beers, coffee, etc. Our son also had a conversation with a farmer selling honey and the man showed our son the queen bee and the worker bees surrounding her in a glass-covered wooden box.
On our way home, we had enough apples to share with friends and family, but on top of that, the experience had been great for us city dwellers. I’m looking forward to the apple picking day in 2016, and I think our son will be getting more apples next year.