Apple Picking 2016

Since Moose had a half-day of school today, and it wasn’t too terribly hot, we decided to go apple picking at Eckert’s.


The wagon ride to the orchard was fun. Picking apples was…not. We were told that due to the extreme heat and excess rain this summer, many of the apples were blemished, so we should look them over carefully before picking. This may have been an understatement. We discovered many apples rotting on the trees…even ones that looked good from the front would be completely rotten in back. The whole orchard smelled like bad wine, I assume from all of the rotting fruit on both the ground and the trees. We picked only about 13 pounds before we gave up (that may sound like a lot, but when you have five children, they disappear quickly!). It was a good lesson in the many obstacles that farmers have to overcome, though!

After our less than successful trip to the orchard, we visited the play area. The children always want to have their picture taken in the big apple!


They also played some miniature golf and visited the goats and zebu. The animals always make us laugh!

Of course we had to visit the country store, and buy some apple cider!


This wasn’t our best trip to pick apples, but at least it put us in a fall kind of mood!


Apple Picking 2015

Since Moose had the day off school today, and because it’s Fuji apple season, it seemed like the perfect morning to go to Eckert’s to pick some apples!

First things first, though…some pumpkin pictures outside the Country Store. You can tell when it’s fall in St. Louis, when you see the children in their Cardinals apparel with pumpkins as a backdrop!



We were on the first wagon of the morning out to the orchard, and we got right down to business:

I’m not sure anyone enjoyed it more than Chickadee…I’ve never seen her eat an apple so quickly!

An apple orchard is a beautiful place to be!




We walked around the Garden Center, where we saw this amazing Cardinals Christmas tree:


We also walked through the Country Store, where we got to watch apple cider donuts being made. Of course we had to buy some (they were even still warm!), to go with the gallon of cider we were purchasing!


It was sprinkling a bit, but we still had to visit the Fun Corral, because climbing in the big apple is an important part of my children’s apple-picking experience:


We also stopped to see the animals. These goats were very excited to see us…they all came running as soon as one of them spotted us! I think they were a bit disappointed that we didn’t have any food, though!


Eckert’s has been part of our family traditions for so long, I almost can’t remember a time we weren’t¬†visiting, and we’re always planning our next trip out to the farm!

Another Year with Eckert’s

2014 has been another good year for our family at Eckert’s. It all started in March, when we stopped by to see their STL250 cake. We went on to visit it many more times, and enjoyed seeing how it changed with the seasons, but there was something special about seeing it that first time with the snow around it.


In May, we went strawberry picking for the second time…but it was the first time for Chickadee! She loved it because the strawberries were right at her level.


June found us picking blueberries for the first time ever. I loved the way the nets covered the bushes to protect them from birds…it looked like a fog over the blueberry patch!


We picked blackberries more times than I count from the end of June through July. Most of them were eaten plain, but I did make a few special desserts with some of them, including the conclusion to our Fourth of July feast!


Sadly, due to weather-related reasons, there were no “pick your own” peaches this year. Eckert’s made up for that with “pick your own” vegetables, though, and we had a great time doing that in July. Picking corn was everybody’s favorite, although it was also fun to find ripe tomatoes, summer squash, and cucumbers!


In September, we finally visited Eckert’s restaurant. It was the first time for the children, and the first time in over a decade for Ryan and me. The biscuits and apple butter were just as good as we remembered, and all of the food was delicious!


Of course we had to go apple picking in September…another first for Chickadee!


And October found us in the pumpkin patch, where we picked a family record of 70+ pounds of pumpkins!


In November, we celebrated a family birthday at the restaurant for the first time…Moose has decided it’s one of his two favorite restaurants.


And the end of November meant time for the Holiday Open House, where we got to try lots of samples, see all the pretty Christmas decorations, and do some crafts.


Eckert’s has become such an important part of our family’s year that I can’t remember a time when we weren’t constantly visiting and doing something fun there. I still haven’t taken an Eckert’s class yet, but that’s about the only thing left on my list of things I haven’t done at Eckert’s yet, and I look forward to finding a fun learning opportunity to take part in sometime in 2015!

Apple Picking 2014

This afternoon, the children and I went to Eckert’s to pick some apples. This is the first time we’ve gone apple picking this year, but it probably won’t be the last…we only picked about eight pounds! It was just a little too warm to get into the proper fall spirit, but that certainly didn’t make the apples any less delicious!

We’re hoping to go back to Eckert’s this weekend to pick pumpkins…it’s just one of our very favorite places to visit, especially during fall!

Through the Year at Eckert’s

Eckert’s has become a very important part of our family’s traditions throughout the year. This year, we did almost everything they offered, although we did miss blueberry and tomato picking, and we always have an artificial Christmas tree, so we’ve never picked our own. I haven’t taken a class at Eckert’s yet, either, but that’s on my to-do list, hopefully sometime next year!

In April, we went on a farm tour. This was the first time we really got a behind-the-scenes look at Eckert’s, and it was fascinating. We learned about their greenhouse, blackberry trellis, and new vineyard. It was truly an educational experience!


In May, I took Bunny and Ladybug to go strawberry picking for the first time. It was a lot of fun, and we really enjoyed the fruits of our labors!


In June, we saw a Dock Dogs exhibition in the Eckert’s parking lot. This was another new experience, and also a lot of fun.


Later in June, and again in July, we went blackberry picking for the first time. I think this may have been my favorite thing to do at Eckert’s this year, and we went back a few times. They were easier to pick than the strawberries, since they climb trellises, instead of growing on the ground, and they were so incredibly delicious!


In July, and again in August, we picked peaches. I think this was our least favorite activity, because although fresh peaches are amazing to eat, it was much more challenging to find the fresh ones in the orchard. Some things are best left to the professionals, I guess. It was still fun, though, and I made some nice peach desserts (one of which also involved a homemade blackberry syrup).


September saw our annual trip to the apple orchard, where we picked several varieties. I thought we had picked a lot, but they were all eaten before I really had the chance to bake with them, so I guess we didn’t get enough!


Also in September (and again in October), we enjoyed seeing the newest additions to Eckert’s family…two adorable baby goats named Jonathan and Goldie!


In October, we went on our annual trip to the pumpkin patch, and picked pumpkins so big we didn’t know what to do with them all! Chickadee really loved this outing, and kept kissing the pumpkins every time she walked by one!


The Holiday Open House is an annual event in November. In the past, it’s been a big weekend event, so we were a little disappointed to learn that this year was a scaled-back weeknight event. We still enjoyed lots of samples, live music, and looking at all of the pretty Christmas decorations!


That brings us to the end of our Eckert’s year. We were there for specific events in every month from April through November, although I don’t think a month goes by where we don’t visit the Country Store at least once for something. I’m so glad we live near such a wonderful place that allows to experience a little sliver of country life!

Apple Picking 2013

I was starting to worry that we weren’t going to make it to the apple orchard this month, because we’ve been so busy. So, today, I decided that our best bet was to just go to Eckert’s right after Moose got out of school. It actually turned out that this was a great time to go…we didn’t have to wait in line at all!

They had Jonathan, Golden Delicious, and Red Delicious apples available for picking. We tried all of them! They really should take the children’s weight before and after they go out to the orchard, because they ate a lot of them while they were picking!

We also stopped by the petting zoo area, and saw the two new baby goats…they were adorable!


Next month, we’ll be back at Eckert’s, picking pumpkins!

At the Apple Orchard

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon at Eckert’s¬†fun farm and apple orchard in Millstadt, IL. This yearly event has become a favorite family activity!

We finally got to see the Jack-O-Lobber, (a giant pumpkin cannon) in action!

Turkey was even chose to go up on stage and help. I think it was the highlight of his week!

The pumpkins shot out of the cannon so fast, all I could get a picture of was smoke, so you’ll just have to trust me–they were super fast, and when they exploded on impact, it was pretty cool!

The children got to go on some fun rides–even Moose tried them all out, even though he was a little reluctant at first.

Of course, the highlight of the afternoon was the tractor ride out to the orchard.

We picked, (and ate), some very delicious, (if you’ll pardon the pun!), apples.

And we got lost in the corn maze (or, as it’s known around here, the maize maze!). This is what happens when Ryan sends me in alone with the children, and Turkey leads the way. At least we finally found our way out–after following another family that actually seemed to have a clue. What can I say? I have very little pride left!

It was a beautiful, fall-like day to be there, and we all had a great time!

Apple Picking

We had a fun afternoon at one of our local apple orchards. Moose had a field trip for school, and like last year, his teacher was kind enough to let his brother and sisters tag along and enjoy the day.

Turkey and Bunny love picking apples–it was hard to slow them down enough to make sure they didn’t overload their bags!

Ladybug loved running from one thing to another–she did slow down a bit when our wagon went over a big bump, and she almost fell out of her seat (thus the look of apprehension on her face!).

We didn’t just pick apples–we also got to visit with (and feed) a variety of farm animals, including this adorable calf.

After the apple picking and animal feeding, all the children had a chance to play in a really cool outdoor play area, complete with pony swings, corn tables, gardening equipment and different kinds of ride-on tractors. Guess which part was Moose’s favorite?