Monday, October 14, 2013

Local Challenge: Entz Orchard

I will never forget my first trip to Austin, Texas.

We had been living in Dallas for nearly a year.
Where I was used to big malls and big-name chains.
Big everything, really.

Then, I made a little road trip to Austin to see a good friend.
Where I no longer felt like I was in Texas.

And I liked it.

Boutiques, markets, and quaint little restaurants.
Local artisan handiwork on every corner. 
People-watching and line-dancing on 6th Street. 

But my interest for this unique city was piqued further as I saw the same slogan everywhere we went.
Keep Austin Weird, it said.

I pried a bit deeper.
Only to discover the brilliance of this slogan.
Austinites are committed to keeping things local.
Or keeping things weird.

It was a completely foreign concept to me.
Growing up in Wichita, Kansas.
Where everyone's favorite restaurant is Olive Garden.

After our quick stint in Dallas, we moved to Rhode Island.
Where hardly anyone goes to a chain anything.
Starbucks is a bad word.
Everyone knows someone who owns a local business.
And some of the most authentic restaurants that you can't find anywhere else in the world.
Because they're all local.

It was a whole new world for Gabe and me.

We made it our personal mission to try as many unique and local festivals, boutiques, restaurants, and events while we lived in New England.
Not to mention the beaches and mountains in close proximity. 
You better believe we spent every weekend for 3 years covering nearly every inch of that area.

Sort of like local tourists.

There is absolutely nothing like the thrill of moving to and exploring a new city. 
These explorations easily provided some of the best memories of my life. 

A few years later, we moved back home.
Smack-dab in the middle of the country.
But Home Sweet Home.

Don't get me wrong. 
We love the comfort of having our families close by.
And of course the friends we've known known since kindergarten.

And sometimes I actually feel like I'm in a new city.
With new friendships.
New interests.
New experiences.
New outlooks.

I guess that's what having kids and turning 30 will do to you.

But I'll be honest.
Every now and then, we get the itch. 
You know, the oh my gosh I might go absolutely crazy if I don't get to a mountain or beach in the next 30 seconds itch.
And don't even get me started on the absence of J.Crew, Crate and Barrel, Nordstrom Rack, and Trader Joes.


I can't think of a better place I'd rather raise our children.
And in all the places we've lived, I've never met people as down-to-earth as Wichitans.
When we lived in New England, I was desperate for just one friendly for-no-good-reason-except-I'm-just-happy-to-be-alive smile from a stranger.

I often have to remind myself of these things.

And that brings me to a recent Saturday morning coffee talk with Gabe.
We got to talking about how we missed the excitement of being in a new city.
To experience the local flavor. 
To go out searching for our coffee shop, our restaurant, our favorite weekend hangout.

We decided that we can either whine about the fact that we can't just pack up the stroller, hop on a train and hit up Giacomo's in Boston, OR we can take on Wichita and all it has to offer.

And that is where The Local Challenge was created.
We decided that twice a month, we are going to try something new in the Wichita and surrounding areas.
And I, of course, hope to document our little galavants.
Bearing in mind that I'm no photographer nor eloquent writer.
Just a gal wanting to capture some sweet family experiences.
In hopes of rekindling a flame with our beloved hometown.

And we've already hit up a few new spots.
One of which just so happened to be where my surprise 30th birthday party was held.
I even brought my camera to try to get some pics.
But I was a little distracted with, oh-you-know, the whole surprise party thing.
*And with the wine.*

But we plan to go back.
And I hope to do a nice little review then. :)


Last week, we decided to take advantage of Gabe's day off and the perfect fall weather.
So we headed 20 miles northeast of Wichita.
To pick up our *broken* tradition of apple picking every fall.
{Something we did every year in Little Rhody}.

Our perfectly-autumn destination was Entz Orchard.
Where we were "greeted" by a napping orchard dog.
And a welcoming, "Hi, I'm Elaine. Welcome to Entz Orchard. What a cute little girl you have. Oh I love her moccasins! Here. Let me take a picture of your adorable family. Can I get you an apple picker?"


A short-lived retreat from the go-go-go of everyday life.
Rows and rows of apple trees.
Homeschooled families learning about the life cycle of a plant.
Sweaty kiddos taking a break in the shade.
Freshly-bitten apples from curious little mouths.
After all. 
You're ordered to Come hungry as we don't weight YOU before and after, just the fruit you picked.

So hungry we came.
We stocked our bag {and our bellies} with Honey-crisps and Pink Ladies.
Ly snacked on a Honey-crisp while Mom and Dad used the nifty apple-picking tool to reach high up in the trees.

$6.00 and a bagful of the tastiest-apples-I've-sunk-my-teeth-into later, and we were on our way.
While Ly sat in the backseat crunching on a perfectly-Lyla-size apple the whole way home.
{I'm not sure I've ever heard a cuter sound Crunch.Crunch.Crunch.}.

I only wish we had discovered Entz Orchard sooner.
Because not only do they have apples, they have peaches in the summer.
And who doesn't love fresh fruit. 
That supports local farmers.
And is delicious to boot. 

Thank you, Doug and Elaine.

We will definitely be back.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

ang - we love the Entz family! they go to our church. so glad you are enjoying OUR local! :) i'd love to join in the adventure. perhaps you can make a button and we can all link up!