Fall hasn’t officially started yet, but it is certainly starting to feel like it so I went apple picking. We checked out Bowman Orchards in
Rexford, NY (near Clifton Park) with friends. If you are looking for a variety of apples you certainly won’t be disappointed with Bowman’s selection. The picks we had to choose from today were Ambrosia, Cortland, Golden Delicious, Jonamac, Macintosh, Macoun, Pinova, Radiant Runkel, and Shamrock. I worked at a grocery store for a good five years of my life and hadn’t heard of half of those, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t either.
All in all, I have to admit it was pretty much the same apple picking experience as I’ve had anywhere else, but in a good way. There were apples, cider, and donuts. Mmm, donuts. And people. So. Many. People.
Yes, you can’t be surprised that it was busy. I mean, it’s September and I went on a Sunday. But Bowman’s has a very particular way of operating, and I can’t say I’m a fan. Let me describe:
First, you pull up to the special weekend entrance and get into a line of cars that make you feel as if you are at the drive-ins. You then pull through, very slowly, until you finally get to park (you are also driving through the orchard at this point, and all I could think about were the fumes infiltrating my soon to be picked apples). Now you think, “Yay! Apple time!” Which is true, now you go get a bag and pick your apples (we brought our own bag, otherwise you pay 25 cents, no biggie). We then made the mistake of attempting to walk to the registers to purchase our apples. No, no, no…you must go back to your car, wait in line with all the other ambitious pickers to check out in your car, much like an old drive-up hot dog stand. At this point you can purchase donuts and cider and be on your merry way. Oh, and by the way, be prepared for the staff to search your car. You know, for those apples you stashed in the trunk.
At this point I feel as if I have waited in my car more than had the fun experience of picking apples. If I hadn’t been meeting friends at the bakery area (which you have to drive and yet again park for), I would have purchased my cider and donuts there and been on my merry way. From a marketing perspective, not the smartest choice. Don’t you want your customers to mingle and window shop and purchase more than they had planned? Anyway, we did park and ended up buying fudge and a cider slushie in addition to the cider and donuts we’d already planned on getting.
Don’t get me wrong, I had fun and enjoyed my day. Would I go back to Bowman’s or would I try another orchard and avoid the apple drive-thru? Probably the latter.