Maybe it’s the pretty white houses lining the streets, with American flags waving in the Vermont breeze... Or maybe it’s the mountains and valleys just beyond with the trees showing just a hint of red and gold leaves in the early autumn sun. Either way, it was clear from our first visit to Dorset, Vermont years ago that this was a special place we’d be coming back to again and again (lucky for us, it’s less than an hour away!). I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about Dorset a time or two (or ten), so I’m excited to share a couple of our fall favorites there in partnership with our friends at JK Adams.
Apple Picking at Mad Tom Orchard | Once you pick apples here, you may never pick anywhere else. The views from the orchard are incredible and the details are so charming (think hand painted signs on the trees, little red wagons, and an apple chart - written and illustrated by hand!). The owners, Tom and Sylvia Smith, are the very sweetest and we loved looking at the old photos of the orchard on the wall and hearing a bit of its history from Tom (his dad purchased the orchard in 1962, and they’ve since purchased it, pruned the old trees, and planted 1200 new ones!).
We picked a basket of McIntosh, which are a favorite for baking (and appreciated that they let folks bring their own reusable baskets and bags to save on plastic!). Afterward, we lingered on an orchard bench with a cup of local cider and agreed that this is the best orchard we’ve ever been to.
Before we left, we grabbed a half dozen donuts to snack on later (fresh from Mrs. Murphy’s in Manchester!), and I decided that I when I grow up, I want to live in a little red house with white apple shutters next to an orchard. It just doesn’t get much better.
The Kitchen Store at JK Adams | A favorite stop when we’re in town, this visit was all about collecting the essentials to whip up a pie with our freshly picked apples.
Not only does JK Adams design and craft all of our favorite cutting and serving boards at their factory in Dorset, they also curate and stock the very best products for cooking, baking, and home right onsite at their Kitchen Store. I was in the market for a new pie dish and rolling pin, but couldn’t help but leave with a few more essentials for baking and entertaining on the porch this fall.
We’re huge fans of JK Adams for many reasons, but most of all for their commitment to hand-crafted, American made products, and their passion for creating heirloom pieces that can be used by families for years to come. One of my very favorite quotes from their website is, “disposable is not in our vocabulary”. As we’ve reduced our single use products, we’re finding ourselves prioritizing the purchase of fewer, high quality pieces that will last. Bonus points for their great design! If you’d like, you can see more about their mission and brand here (if you’re a fan of small, family-owned, American businesses like we are, their video will give you all the warm and fuzzies).
Dorset Farmers Market | We love to stop into the local farmers market when we’re traveling, and the Dorset Market was such a treat. From flowers to fresh produce and bread to local artisan goods, we could have easily spent all afternoon enjoying the atmosphere and live music here. Held at the HN Williams General Store during the warmer months, the market is just getting ready to move indoors to the woodworking shop at JK Adams for the fall and winter season beginning October 14.
At Home: Bake an Apple Pie | As hard as it was to tear ourselves away from Dorset, we were excited to get home to put our apples and kitchen gear to use. And of course, the pups were on hand to welcome us home and take stock of what we brought them :)
First things first, a pie is nothing without a good crust. I’m no expert, but I’ve tried a few recipes, and my favorite is this recipe from The Pioneer Woman. It’s quick, easy, and it comes out perfect every time. I love using the French Dowel Rolling Pin from JK Adams to roll the dough since it helps me to feel more in control of the process than when I’m using a pin with handles. That said, I may have to pick up the Lovely Rolling Pin to try next time, which has edges on the ends of the pin to ensure your dough gets rolled to an even thickness (which usually never happens for me!). The Maple Artisan Board was perfect for rolling out the dough and for keeping my mess off the countertop (because cleaning up after making a pie is always the worst part!).
Peeling apples is typically my least favorite step in any type of apple baking. However! We got this apple peeling machine a few years ago, and it is a game changer my friends. It peels, cores, and slices the apples in seconds. I’ve also somehow convinced Tom that this is his job, so it literally takes me no time at all ;) The dogs get excited whenever this little machine comes out of the cabinet, since they always get the leftover apple slices when we inevitably end up peeling too many. These boards from JK Adams are perfect for any further slicing (and for serving afterwards!).
For the filling, I mix the sliced apples with 1 cup + 2 tbsp of sugar, 3 tbsp cornstarch, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Bake (in this pretty pie dish!) at 425 for the first 15 minutes, then at 375 for the remaining 45-50 minutes.
We served the pie with leftover apples and cider donuts from Mad Tom Orchard, and some cheese and crackers that we picked up at JK Adams (they have tons of picnic supplies, by the way!). The perfect end to a perfect day.