This past Saturday we dropped by Lesser Farms to get apples. If you live in this area, I highly recommend Lessers. The family has been in the Chelsea area for a number of generations; I saw in the paper that old Mr. Lesser recently passed away in his late 80s and had farmed in this area his whole life. His sons and grandkids farm around here now, and one of the Lesser farms is within walking distance of our house.
Fruit sales happen on the back porch:
Fresh eggs and their own honey are always available on the side porch of the house. It’s help yourself and self-pay on the honor system. Our daughters discovered the joy of eating honeycomb last fall thanks to the Lessers.
Lessers grow their apples conventionally, which means they are sprayed several times during the growing season. During one of the aerial sprayings this summer, my husband and one of our daughters walked over and hung out with the Lessers to watch their new crop duster guy, who was some kind of winged madman. My husband said one of the Mr. Lessers was just shaking his head in amusement as the little crop plane whizzed back and forth at a ridiculously high speed. Everyone was amazed he didn’t crash. Our daughter amused herself by trying to catch one of the barn kittens, which Mr. Lesser said she could keep if she could catch.
Yesterday I cooked a traditional Sunday dinner and invited my mother-in-law to join us for a big pork roast with maple syrup glaze (made with syrup from Jane Kelly’s farm in Dexter), mashed potatoes, and butternut squash from our garden, and I made two big apple pies for dessert from the Cortland apples we’d bought. Cortlands are my favorite pie apple by a mile:
Here is my favorite pie crust recipe:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 2/3 cups lard
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add 1 2/3 c lard.
- Cut in lard until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- In a small bowl, mix together water, egg, and vinegar.
- Pour into lard mixture and stir until dough is thoroughly moistened and forms a ball. Divide into 4 portions (if you like a thicker crust, I recommend only dividing the dough into three portions instead of four) and wrap tightly until used.
Here is the pie filling recipe I used:
- Enough Cortland apples to fill 9-inch pie plate (heaping)
- ¾ c sugar
- 1 t salt
- 1 t cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- dash of salt
- 2 T flour
- 2 T butter sliced over the apples
- Mix one egg with 2 T Half n’ Half and brush over top crust. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350° for one hour or until crust is golden brown and apples are tender.
Of course, if you are going to go to all the trouble of making a homemade pie, I recommend making two. A slice of bacon, a sliver of leftover apple pie, and coffee with cream makes an awfully nice breakfast on an oh-no-it’s-the-start-of-another-hectic-week Monday morning.