Apple Picking in St. Joseph Missouri
Every year, our family enjoys a day trip to St. Joseph, Missouri, where we spend a day of apple picking at Schweizer Orchards (5455 SE State Route Ff, St. Joseph, MO. 816.232.3999). Schweizer offers many varieties of apples and their orchard is so large, they'll have apples throughout the season (you should still call ahead for hours, ask which varieties are available, and check on special events)! They also feature a large playground for kids with swings, slides, monkey bars, and a giant wooden train my girls loved. There are picnic tables, and a gift shop with other delicious treats, craft items, and souvenirs. This year, apples are ready to enjoy already in Mid-August!
Last year, we picked 49 lbs of apples in less than an hou. We picked three different varieties of apples and the best part is that even our youngest daughter (22 mos.) was able to reach the apples from the low branches and enjoy the fun. We are looking forward to making the trip again this year, but these are our memories from last year to help you plan an apple picking trip to St. Jo!
After apple picking, we stopped for lunch at Crumbly Burger (formerly a Maid Rite) at 2701 Frederick Avenue in St. Joseph, MO. 816.387.8867). Just as the name suggests, this old-fashioned lunch spot sells crumbly burgers (we call them sloppy joe's), hot dogs, tacos, and more. The girls loved eating at the lunch counter, and I was happy that the counter had chairs, not stools, so it worked well for young kids. The restaurant was clean, affordable, and family-friendly!
This year, we're planning to eat at Kris & Kate's (2330 N 36th St, St. Joseph, MO. 816.232.4201) an ice cream shop and hot dog stand known for it's cone shaped facade.
After lunch, we headed to the Patee House Museum (1202 Penn Street, St. Joseph, MO. 816.232.8206. Apr-Oct: Mon-Sat 10am-4:30pm, Sun 1pm-4:30pm; Nov-Mar: WEEKENDS ONLY (weather permitting)Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 1pm-4pm. Admission rates are: $6 for adults, $5 for senior citizens (over 60), $4 for students (ages 6-17), Kids 5 & under are admitted for free). This eclectic museum features a wide range of exhibits from a real steam locomotive to old-fashioned toys, inventions and local history, and even "believe it or not" exhibits like the full-size photo of the world's tallest man (8ft. 11in) visiting St. Jo... an exhibit the girls had fun "measuring up to."
The next day, we worked together as a family to start putting our apples to good use. We made apple stuffed pork chops (served with mashed potatoes, salad, green beans, and bread) and apple crisp for dessert. Then, we worked together to make crock pot applesauce! If you find yourself with a large quantity of apples, as we did, I encourage you to invest in an apple peeler (for sale at local hardware stores or kitchen shops). My daughter loved peeling the apples and it made the task fun and fast! We peeled the apples, tossed them into our crock pot, covered the bottom of the crock pot (about 1 inch) with 1 c. water, 1 c. apple juice (can use water only), 1/2 c. sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon and apple pie spice to taste. The pot simmered all day while we stirred occasionally until we had delicious applesauce! We kept enough for the week in the fridge and froze the rest in quart bags to enjoy later as a side dish or in baking.
We ended the weekend enjoying some delicious homemade applesauce, having created some great memories. I think the best part of the weekend was the pride our girls took in helping pick apples and make food for the entire family. It's such a great lesson for children to learn that they can contribute to the needs of a family and work together to achieve something good. And, I think that may have been the very best part of it all!