Although the days are growing shorter and the heat of summer has been replaced with chilly mornings and evenings, there’s much to be grateful for with the coming of autumn. Not least of which is the abundance of seasonal fruit and vegetables on our grocery store shelves. Or better yet, waiting to be picked by hand at farms throughout the Geneva-area and Vaud countryside.
All summer long I’ve cycled past expansive fields of ripening apples, rose hips, sunflowers, wheat, and pears. Last week, as I headed towards the Bois de Marcagnou just off the Route de Sauerney above Versoix (heading towards the Jura mountain range) a sign caught my eye that made me stop and take note.
There was not a moment to spare as doubtless the apples had been flying off the branches since early September — it was time that I added apple picking to my “been there, done that” checklist.
And I knew I’d have a willing partner in my husband, who has often spoken happily of the weeks he spent as a young teenager helping out Swiss farmers with their apple harvest. So we headed to Ferme Courtois to pick apples that owner Christophe Courtois told us he had specifically planted for his self-serve customers.
Much more than a ‘been there, done that’, experience, it was wonderful — using an oft-used phrase — to get close to nature and learn a little about the growing and harvesting process. In addition to apples, customers could also pick their own pumpkins, beetroot, celeriac, stringbeans, and raspberries.
Store-bought fruit and veg will never look nor taste the same to me now that I appreciate what goes into getting them there without the slightest bit of labor on our part, just as recipes using fruit picked with our own hands will somehow taste that much better….
Below are a few photos from our afternoon of apple picking:
Bring the kids along for a fun afternoon
If you’d like to enjoy a similar experience with your family or friends this autumn, keep your eyes open when driving, walking or cycling through your local countryside as you’ll be sure to see an ‘auto-cueillette’ opportunity on your doorstep.
Otherwise, you can consult Geneva Terroir to discover at which farms in the lake Geneva region you can purchase your fruit, vegetables, meat, chicken, flowers, wine and other produce direct from the farmer.
For those of you in Canton Vaud, here are two outlets in the Versoix and Tannay/Mies area where you can pick your own fruit in autumn 2017:
La Ferme Courtois, Route de la Branvaude 13, 1290 Versoix, Tel: 022.755.43.16. You can find out about the self-picking opening hours for 2017 here. The farm also has a shop offering seasonal farm produce for sale throughout the year on Monday and Tuesday from 9:00am to noon and from 1:30pm to 6pm; on Friday from 9am to 6pm; and on Saturday from 9am to 5pm. Seasonal produce for sale includes fruit, vegetables, lentils, dairy products, meat, eggs, bread, flowers, baskets of local terroir products, and other regional specialities.
If you prefer organic fruit, or “bio” as they are called here, then pay a visit on Wednesday from 3:30pm to 6:30pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am to 5:30pm to the barn or nearby stand belonging to the Ferme du Torry located at Chemin de Chirilinge 1, 1295 Tannay, Tel: 079.535.94.95. You can pick your own apples and pears and they offer a selection of other vegetables as well as apple juice, cider, and eau-de-vie.
Get out your favorite apple recipes, because you’ll be needing them! ♠