The pumpkin spice takeover came so swiftly. First it was the pumpkin spice latte at various local coffee shops and national coffee chains. Then it was a few things at Trader Joes. Then it was all things at Trader Joes. Now it seems like every product on the grocery store shelf has a special pumpkin spice variation. It makes the Splimm Team nervous. We would never want to deprive anyone of their pumpkin spice English muffins, if that’s a thing they are into, we just want to make sure this doesn’t take the place of real, honest pumpkin pie, one of nature’s perfect foods. In that spirit, Splimm is packing the vape pen, our cider mug, and some canvas bags (but leaving the apple picking pole at home, for safety), and heading out to a farm to do some pumpkin and apple picking.
There are a lot of different kinds of apples, and just like strains of cannabis, each has their purpose.
Find a place with a cool maze.
A corn or hay maze is a great place to test your mental resolve while using marijuana. If you’re there on the weekend there may be too many people around to actually take a sip of the vape pen while you’re in the maze, so find a place that’s quiet and get your mind ready. Or be really scientific and go through once without having any cannabis, then find a place that’s quiet to get your mind ready, and go through the maze again. Did you make it through quicker the second time? Could this be because you already went through it once, and consuming cannabis hasn’t completely ruined your memory? Or was it because you chose to smoke a sativa that heightened your awareness, thus making you more decisive during your second run? For the sake of science, let’s assume it was both.
But whether you like the challenge of solving the thing, you enjoy moving slowly around in circles as a form of walking meditation, or you want to pretend like you’re Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining, Splimm really thinks you should find a place with a good maze.
Take the hayride.
Almost every farm or orchard has a hayride. Sometimes they just spread some hay around on a tiny flatbed and pull it with a heavy duty riding lawnmower. Sometimes it’s a giant tractor big enough to haul the cast of The Shawshank Redemption. It doesn’t matter. Not only is a hayride an essential part of your orchard visit, you need to save your energy for all the pumpkin and apple carrying still to come. You earned this hayride by getting through that maze so quickly, or you got really lost and you need to rest your legs. It’s also a good way to show off your fall weather socks. For October, Splimm likes to wear pairs with maple leaves or well-dressed zombies when we can.
Pick a pumpkin big enough to support your ambitious carving plan.
Finally, without a doubt, for Halloween you are going to carve The Death Star. Or the cemetery scene at the end of The Nightmare Before Christmas. This is the year you are going to etch the face of Edgar Allen Poe with a raven on his shoulder, and set it on your porch next to the pumpkins you engraved in the likenesses of Virginia Wolfe, James Joyce, and Samuel Beckett.
But after you’ve helped your kids carve their pumpkins and put on their costumes, and then helped them take off their costumes so you can clean them once more before they actually wear them trick-or-treating, it will still be nice to have a large pumpkin that you can use to sculpt a variation of the face you carve every year. You’ll get a lot of seeds from a big pumpkin and everyone loves roasted pumpkin seeds. When your kids are older you’ll design something a little more involved, but at least this year you can have three different varieties of pepitas.
Know your apples – or bring someone who does and make sure you listen to them.
There are a lot of different kinds of apples, and just like strains of cannabis, each has their purpose. It’s a good idea to know the properties of the apples at the orchard you’ve chosen, and it’s a better idea to know the apple preferences of the people you’re with. They like Honey Crisp and they like Northern Spy. They do not like Golden Delicious or Red Delicious, because they are mealy, which is why they gave you that look when you picked a whole bag full. Don’t feel too bad. You didn’t know. They have the word delicious in their names (which, in hindsight, does seem a bit like over-selling).
Buy some cider.
If they make their own cider on site, Splimm recommends you buy at least a gallon. We don’t quite understand why, in a world where there is apple cider, anyone would ever drink apple juice. Even though at Splimm we always search for truth and honesty, we’ve never even bothered to look up the difference between apple cider and apple juice, because we know that apple cider is the thing we want to drink, and apple juice is something that doesn’t taste quite as good. We could look it up right now; this computer is hooked up to Wi-Fi. But what’s the point?
What we would like to know is how do they make hard cider from regular cider? We’ve never been big drinkers and beer is really bad for our stomachs, but it’s tough explaining that to people at parties. Lately, we’ve noticed more and more varieties of hard ciders. It doesn’t hurt our stomachs, it tastes pretty good, and it gives us something to hold in our hands during the holiday family gatherings lurking around the corner. If you’re at an orchard that makes its own hard cider, buy at least a six-pack. For your family.
Devise a strategy to acquire and/or build a cider empire.
Maybe, originally, you were going to open a cannabis lounge where you gave everyone who came in the door a velvet smoking jacket that would’ve been made from the same material as all the couches inside the lounge. But you couldn’t make sense of the federal tax regulations, so maybe you started a website. If the website fails, maybe you can start a cider house. Places like Vermont, Washington, and Oregon already have a thriving craft cider market, but some places, like Baltimore, are wide open.
The return hayride is a good time to think of possible investors for your next venture, Weekend Ferment Kit. You will be Cider Baron of Charm City in three to five years!
You cannot fail! Just look at how quickly you solved that maze!