The Wait is Over


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.


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


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! ;)


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


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


It’s so beautiful and peaceful. :)  


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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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


I am grateful they did. :)


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


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


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.


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.


Ben approved.

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Me too!


WOW! Wow… ;)


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.)


Our final stop was the pumpkin patch.  


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!


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


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…


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


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


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


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


$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


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.


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


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


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


Whyyyyyyy. WHY is it sooooo good?!


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


What’s your favorite apple variety?

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  1. I love Pick Your Own. The prices are fantastic. It makes cooking and baking my favorite fall hobby. Huge butternut squash sit on my counter now and a honeynut squash I need to figure out what to do with.

  2. Jamie 10.08.2011

    Could you please figure out how to replicate the Smokey D’s Mac & Cheese??? It’s so creamy and slightly spicy… good.

  3. wheeee! that’s on my agenda for tomorrow. we’re taking my 6 month old niece to the patch for apples and pumpkins! im a little bummed its going to be 80 degrees here too, but i cant wait to see what goodies i come back with! my favorite apples are honeycrisps, fo sho. i just spent $4 on 3 of them at whole foods today, so im hoping the farm has them tomorrow!

  4. What a perfect Fall day! I love Honeycrisps but I can’t find organic anywhere here! :( It makes me so sad! Instead I have been enjoying Pink Ladies and Fujis!

  5. mmm i love fresh fall apples!!!

  6. Diane 10.08.2011

    I just had a honeycrisp with a slice of extra sharp cheese. Perfect!

  7. Machelle 10.08.2011

    Golden Delish is my fav. i love that pickin farm! got me some strawberries there earlier this summer. and Smokey D’s is pretty good too! you were hangin on my side of town today!

  8. Cortland all the way, baby! And the best thing is that they are some of the cheaper ones!

  9. meghan 10.08.2011

    Sounds like the PERFECT fall day!!
    $4.80?! For real? I spent that much at WF today on THREE honeycrisp apples :( Those are a favorite as are golden delicious, galas and pink lady’s. I like ’em crunchy!

  10. What an ideal Fall day! I love my Pink Ladies ;)

  11. Afton 10.08.2011

    Sounds like an amazing day! Love CJ’s (I live in Ankeny) and Smokey D’s. My office used to be in the skywalk and we would walk down there for lunch. The burnt ends are my fav- and their cheesy potato casserole is delish! Sorry about your Hawkeyes- it’s a close game for my Cyclones- hopefully they can pull though!

  12. Yum Yucky 10.08.2011

    I can identify a delicious bagel without even tasting it. And that there bagel looks delish! What a fun day you had. Your apple-modeling pics are good enough to make you Apple Spokeswoman of the Year.

  13. I can’t believe you got all that Produce for so cheap! thats so awesome! And I am such a sucker for a good bagel! those bagel bites look HEAVENLY

  14. Nancy 10.08.2011

    Jonathan, Winesap, honeycrisp, gold rush, Zestar — any apple but a soft and mushy red delicious. Can’t wait till later in the season to make some Overnight Apple Butter in the crockpot!

  15. Jeri 10.08.2011

    So, I was going to have to cancel a trip to the pumpkin patch/apple farm this year because this month we are strapped for cash, BUT now that I know you can get them for so cheap! I guess I’m going to the Berry Patch Farm with my little girl!

  16. Nicole G 10.08.2011

    Sounds like you guys had an awesome day! We did too. Took the kids to Grant’s Farm, which is hard to explain, kinda like a zoo, and museum, and wildlife refuge all rolled into one, and founded by the Anheiser Busch family. Anyways, the weather was a bit warm for this time of year, but zero humidity and a nice breeze made up for it. Plus, the park was decorated for Halloween which was cool. Then we went to Red Robin for a late lunch. I was so done after that.

    Your burnt end bbq plate looks unreal!! So good! And I cannot believe you and Ben only payer $4.80 for your goods at the patch! What a steal! BTW, I made the pork carnita recipe you posted this week. We were actually too full from lunch to eat dinner but I snuck a few bites, Omg, so smoky and tender! Can’t wait to dig into it tomorrow!

    • chris 10.09.2011

      You made be homesick. I was born and raised in St. Louis, now I leave far away from my stomping grounds. My family went to Grant’s Farm all the time.

  17. Bear 10.08.2011

    I am a new fan of honey crisp apples too. In fact I will be taking a road trip tuesday to Gays Mills WI to the orchards up there. They still have plenty of honey crisp apples as well as many ither varieties. I am also looking forward to the fresh warm cider donuts and cheese curds.

  18. erica 10.08.2011

    i have always wanted to pick my own apples!

    my favorite are fuji apples! yum!

  19. hands down, honey crisp. we are exploring the local apple patch next weekend… can’t wait!!

  20. I have been searching ALL over for a Pick Your Own place here in Texas! I hope to find something! Looks like you had a blast!

  21. Jonagolds are my favorites. Followed closely by honeycrisps and winesaps.

  22. Mollie 10.08.2011

    We went to berry patch today too!

  23. Your day looks beautiful! Going berry-picking is on my list of things I want to do. It’s hard to pick, but my favorite apple variety has got to be Pink Lady. I love the tartness of them!

  24. I love any of the pick your own patches! We are blessed to have so many of those in the midwest! On a random note – what kind of camera do you use? Love your pics! Looking into getting a new one. :)

  25. Laura 10.09.2011

    Awww, my sister recently moved to Nevada and she is obsessed with Berry Patch Farms. I went with her to pick black raspberries this July and with the sunshine, views, fruit, and butterflies, I honestly felt like it could have been heaven. Thanks for bringing back such a great memory!

  26. I LOVE the cheapness of those places. We got like ten pounds of apples for 5 dollars and I was so surprised.

  27. Ms.S 10.09.2011

    Love a fall trip to the orchard! Have you tried Zestar or SweeTango apples? We just discovered them this year. LOVE!!!

  28. Amy 10.09.2011

    Wow! Looks like you had an excellent time!
    I wish we had something similar in here in Australia but I’ve never seen anything like this.
    Your photos of the farm are gorgeous :) Although it is coming into summer here I can almost smell the crisp Autumn leaves and have an unseasonal craving for roast pumpkin!

  29. I want to go fruit picking so badly this year! Definitely on my October list! (:

  30. Jane 10.09.2011

    I had never heard of Honeycrisp apples til I read your blog last year. My daughter’s teacher handed them out as a treat and that thing was huge! She said it was really good, so now I am always on the hunt for them :D You’re right, they are not in season long and sometimes hard to find, AND freaking expensive, but so good! We generally eat gala’s and fuji’s.

  31. Kristin from MN 10.10.2011

    Sweet Tango and Honey Crisp!

  32. Jells! I totally want to go apple-picking! I like Granny Smiths, Honey Crisps, Pink Ladies and Galas. And Fujis.

    I like apples.. :)

  33. What a GORGEOUS day for a trip to a farm!! That looks like so much fun! There’s a pumpkin patch nearby that Michael and I are planning on going to soon and I simply can’t wait. This only made me more excited!

  34. Holly 10.14.2011

    Oh man, I grew up in Ankeny and when I got to high school CJs before school was a MUST every now and then. Every time I go back home to visit I spend at least one morning at CJs. Yum.
    Those raspberries look amazing! And the apples too!

  35. Alaina 01.12.2012

    Hey! I drive past Berry Patch Farms every day! A friend from Oregon just linked me to your blog cause I recently moved to Iowa. I am soooo glad to find out all the berries I loved in the Pacific Northwest are available near my home in Nevada. :)

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