The bar has been set pretty high for all future, fun Saturdays! :D

Ben and I woke up this morning with one thing on our minds (well, probably more on my mind than his… ;) ): apple picking at Berry Patch Farms. I have been waiting WEEKS to go to my favorite orchard/berry patch in the area!

Another thing on our minds was our insanely high hunger level, so we made a pit stop at CJ’s Bagel Basket in Ankeny for breakfast on our way.

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CJ’s bagels are made from scratch every morning, and my Apple Cinnamon bagel was thick, moist and chewy.

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Ben’s Cinnamon Raisin bagel bites, smeared with cream cheese frosting, were the real showstoppers though. Cream cheese icing for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do! ;)

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It was an unbelievably gorgeous morning, so we decided to take the scenic back-roads the rest of the way to the farms.

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Ben and I love to drive aimlessly around the countryside sometimes.

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It’s so beautiful and peaceful. :)  

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About 20 minutes later, we arrived at our destination. Berry Patch Farms!

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Berry Patch Farms is located on a picturesque plot of land in Nevada, IA, about 30 minutes northeast of Des Moines. 

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It is enormous with patches of blueberries, cherries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, as well as TONS of varieties of apples, and a gigantic pumpkin & squash patch.

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What we love most about Berry Patch Farms is that they give you the lay of the land when you arrive – where all the different berries and apple varieties are located – then set you free to wander and pick what you please.

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After you’re done, you come back to the front and pay for what ya’ picked. :)

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The weather remained stunning into the afternoon. Clear skies with a nice breeze to cut the 80+ degree heat. 

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October 8th and 80 degrees. Can you believe that?! 

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Ben and I plotted our picking strategy, and off we went.

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A stop by some raspberry bushes was first. Peak berry season is long gone, but somehow a few sweet raspberries managed to hang on.

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I am grateful they did. :)

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There is nothing better than a burst of sweet flavor from a handpicked, ruby-red raspberry. YUMMY!

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The rows and rows (and rows and rows!) of apples were our next stop!

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We had hoped to pack our bags with mostly Honeycrisps, but since it’s pretty late in the season they were completely gone!!

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The Golden Delicious apples we found a few rows over tasted almost as sweet though, and were just as crisp and snappy.

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Ben was unanimously elected as chief apple picker…by me. :) 

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No apple was too high for this man to grab for his girl!!!

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Just like the raspberries, nothing beats fresh picked from the tree.

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Ben approved.

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Me too!

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WOW! Wow… ;)

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In addition to the Golden Delish apples, we munched on and purchased some Jonagolds (tart & crisp,) Priscillas (softer but sweet,) and Cortlands (an apple’s apple.)

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Our final stop was the pumpkin patch.  

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I’d already picked up some pumpkins for Ben and myself at the Farmers’ Market a few weeks ago, so this was slightly bittersweet…

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Just LOOK at the size of this patch!!!!! The variety was cray-cray!

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Pumpkins in every size, shape and color you could think of. Big, little ones, smooth, lumpy, green, yellow, orange, orangER and white.

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I saw this really cool setup on either Better Homes & Garden’s or Martha Stewart’s website a few weeks ago, where they filled a fireplace with a bunch of different pumpkins and gourds.

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I SO wanted to replicate…

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but I didn’t think poor Ben would want to carry 50lbs of gourds to the car. HA!

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Instead I insisted on bringing home this crazy-cool lumpy pump,

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and a butternut squash from the vines growing throughout the whole patch! :D

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Ready to hear how much we spent for everything? A crap load of apples, pumpkins and squash (oh my!)?

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$4.80. Four dollars and eighty cents!

FOUR EIGHTY??, I all but yelled at the woman working. Um, yes. she replied. I couldn’t believe it! BPF rocks! :D

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Our Saturday was going too well to come home just yet, so we made a stop at Smokey D’s for a succulent, BBQ lunch after the farms.

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This place gets me every time, sigh. I had no choice but to order a Burnt Ends Basket.

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Smokey, melt-in-your-mouth burnt ends,

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accompanied by creamy, house mac & cheese, cucumber & onion slaw and a salty, garlicky slice of buttered toast.

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Whyyyyyyy. WHY is it sooooo good?!

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After lunch we rolled home in time to catch the Iowa Hawkeyes continually drop and fumble the ball play Penn State. It’s the 4th quarter and they’re currently down 10 points. Cross your fingers for a Q4 rally? I don’t want anything to put a damper on this day!

Hope you had an awesome Saturday too! :D

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What’s your favorite apple variety?