One Step at a Time: an apple a day and other seasonal goodies

Fitness columnist Abbie Wenthe on the flavors of fall

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With turning 20 this week and the semiannual freak out that comes with signing up for classes, lately I have been reminiscing about childhood and how great I had it as a kid.

The only thing I had to worry about was bringing a cold lunch to school and wondering what game we would play at recess. Now, it’s all homework all the time and trying to plan a career path that will begin in the near future.

With childhood on my mind and October showing all around campus, I have been longing for a return to the tradition of going to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch with my family. My mom, dad, sister and I would all hop into the car and drive to the orchard to get our fix of apple cider and other goodies. Of course, my sister and I would be decked out in matching overalls, ready to pick some fruit. My dad would lift me up to the top of the tallest tree so I could pick that perfect apple and proudly show it off to my mom’s waiting camera. Sorry, my family’s precious.

My favorite part of excursions like these was the bonding time I was able to share with my family. I didn’t even have to feel bad about shoving my face because apples are healthy, right? Apple pie probably isn’t the best thing to be eating at the orchard, but, hey, a small piece won’t hurt.

As surprising as it may seem, apple orchards aren't just childhood memories. They're still around, but, sadly, not in Columbia. I am working on finding an orchard, as it's a great way to take advantage of the beautiful autumn weather and spend some time with friends as well as a unique form of exercise and way to sneak in some healthy fall food among all of the pumpkin bread and lattes.

With midterms ending, orchards offer fresh air and oxygen for your brain — the perfect study break. I plan on getting a group of sorority sisters, friends or whoever together and venturing out to the nearest orchard to pick some good old Granny Smiths.

Another favorite fall pastime is visiting a corn maze or pumpkin patch. Luckily, we have that option here in Columbia at Shryocks Callaway Farms.

I was able to go to the corn maze last week and experience running around the Truman and SEC design of this year’s field. I found about half of the checkpoints before I gave up and went straight for the bonfire where I had s’mores and hot dogs. Absolutely nothing beats a s’more or hot dog roasted over a bonfire, but these treats should be eaten in moderation. Thankfully, I don’t have a multitude of bonfires to attend, otherwise, I would be the shape of a marshmallow.

The corn maze and pumpkin patch are also great ways to support local farms and enjoy the crisp Columbia air. While at the corn maze, pumpkins and gourds are available for purchase, just in time for Halloween. The search for the perfect pumpkin is always entertaining, and carving the pumpkin into a jack-o'-lantern is another classic fall tradition.

Get some friends together for a pumpkin carving contest, the slimy insides covering each participant. After taking the seeds out, wash and dry them then bake in the oven for a delicious and nutritious fall snack.

This weather and season provide us with multiple opportunities to go back to childhood and remember everything we used to love, like apple orchards, carving pumpkins and drinking apple cider. Gather up the dorm floor, sorority house or roommates and head to a local orchard or farm and embrace the fall spirit. While you’re at it, throw on that pair of overalls or Halloween sweater that has been lurking in the shadows of your closet. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.

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