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Saturday, November 19, 2011

We’re Not in New England Anymore, Toto

A few weeks ago, my family went back east to New England to visit my grandfather. Every time we go we stop by the local cider mill to buy cider (my hands-down favorite beverage of all time), freshly baked cider doughnuts, buy local apples, taste test the homemade wine and watch the family that runs the mill operate the old-fashioned wood press that still produces all their cider. The whole things reeks of New England-ness and I just love it.

The press. For more info go to
When we returned home, mum and I decided we would take a trip out to a cider mill here in the Kansas City area. We had heard lots of good things about it and were craving more doughnuts and apples...those little locally grown ones have ten times more flavor than grocery store apples. It’s like comparing apples and...well...apples.
An hour’s drive later, we pull into the gravel parking lot of the famous cider mill. It was all downhill from there. Far from being a quaint destination spot, it was more like a roadside attraction. I expected to see a sign boasting “two headed cow around back.” The parking lot smelled so awful I kept was like someone had eaten a ton of cheese then vomited it all over. Gross.
The “mill” itself was a stainless steel, mechanical contraption you could watch from behind a fingerprint-smudged Plexiglas wall. A band straight out of the movie Redemption played country music on a makeshift stage, and a food truck from the local church was serving food. Exchanging disappointed looks, we went into the gift shop to poke around. Nothing in there was local. The apples were all from Michigan, and the snacks, beverages and knickknacks were all national labels you could buy in any grocery store. 
In a last ditch effort to salvage the trip, we bought some cider and “fresh, homemade doughnuts.” While I’m sure the doughnuts were homemade, they were chewy and cold, having been pre-packaged in paper bags and piled behind the counter for the cashiers to hand out. 
We contemplated checking out the corn maze next door, but would have had to walk across the vast, cheese-vomit wafting parking lot. In the end, we drove back home after spending less than 15 minutes at the cider mill. 
This was not our first attempt to seek out the charms of New England in the grasslands of Kansas. Last year we went blueberry picking, one of our favorite past-times in New Hampshire when I was little. The picking itself was really fun, although my mother’s competitive streak meant I spent most of the time trying to keep up with her as she zipped from bush to bush hunting for the best berries. Not really the relaxing bonding experience I had expected. 
All was going well until we made our way back to the gift shop/weighing station to pay for our haul. Inside the shop was a large replica of Noah’s Ark made from popsicle sticks (okay...arts and Then we started reading the signs posted on it: explanations of how Noah could, and did, bring dinosaurs on the ark (red flag, red flag). Suddenly the large dinosaur statues that dotted the farm made a lot more sense (I had thought they were just there to entertain the little kids).
Apparently, Noah had collected 2 of each kind of dinosaur egg, making for much easier transport than taking live dinosaurs onboard. A sensible argument minus the fact the timeline is off by several millennia.
There wasn’t a sign describing the specifics of dinosaur egg selection, so I’m still baffled as to how Noah knew which eggs had boy dinosaurs and which had girls dinosaurs inside, thus ensuring a pair capable of mating and propagating the species. I nearly asked the nice young girl behind the checkout counter but decided against it. 

Boy and girl eggs...
All in all, I think we’ll stick to New England for satisfying our foraging desires. I love the Midwest, but in some categories it just can’t compare.

1 comment:

  1. Well that could certainly add another explanation as to why the dinosaurs are extinct! It's all Noah's fault for picking the wrong eggs! My logic is flawless.