FARM LIFE FROM A FARM WIFE: Making desserts out of fall harvest

Kay Reminger

Hauling out my outside fall decorations the other day, I was covered in a sheen of sweat and muttered under my breath, “I’m supposed to be out here in a sweatshirt.” While I don’t want to complain that summer is being obstinately stubborn, I do enjoy brisk, crispy fall air, and the colors — vibrantly magnificent. Giggling I read a Facebook post, “God must be a Packer fan!” The fella had posted a picture of a beautiful green and yellow tree, just turned. Fall is my most favorite time of the year. I just don’t care for what comes after it. Envisioning a snow-covered deck, I literally shivered.

Enjoying these early fall, summer-like bonus days I am harvesting apples from our trees and ever-bearing raspberries from our small but productive patch. Every other day I pick about four cups of red ripe berries, vying with buzzing bees for the fruit. I tell them, “If you don’t bother me, I won’t bother you. There’s enough out here for all of us.”

I give berries away to family and friends. One responded, “The raspberries are so good.” I take no credit other than to pluck the delight off the vine, God does it all. A few land in my mouth as I pick, many days adding a fresh bowl to our suppers and the rest I freeze to make “vudka” during those snow-covered days.

This is a recipe from my husband’s mother that she passed down to me, which I’d never heard of until I married her son. It’s 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of milk and two eggs stirred up like a pancake batter and then folded into a greased 9X13-inch pan. Add 2 cups of fresh (or frozen) raspberries on top and sprinkling all with a cup of sugar, bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. It’s quick and delicious. Shamelessly, I admit between the two of us we polish it off in two days.

The fist-sized apples that come off our tree are delicious and sweet, the juice running down my chin as I blissfully bite into one, warmed by the sun. We have four apple trees on our property and they all have produced well, although just two have apples that are super good. As the other two drop their fruit, I rake up those apples and cart over to our pigs, who look up at me with grateful smiles, sloppily making the apples disappear in the blink of an eye.

One tree has so many apples it literally leans over, weighty with the fruit, snapping its branches. The branches can’t support their heaviness as we’ve had such a dry summer. Hauling a ladder over to pluck the apples, we try to pick them before they fall, getting the best ones to make apple strudel, which is my husband’s second most favorite dessert.

Checking in with Siri one day, I demanded: “Give me a good apple crisp recipe.”

Immediately I read, “This apple crisp recipe is the best fall dessert ever! Fresh sliced apples are topped with a buttery cinnamon oat topping that tastes divine with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.”

Oh. She sold me, and the rave met expectation.

These apple trees needed a bit of tending. The deer were nibbling more apples than we, so we hung up some bars of Irish Spring soap to deter them. I still see bite-sized hunks out of some sprawled beneath the tree. As I pick those up for our pigs, I flick off engorged, lazy hornets, drunk with feasting on fermented apples made warm and pliable in the sun. There’s enough, just like the raspberries, for all of us.

The beautiful season of fall has peeked around the corner, bringing along its vibrant colors and, as a bonus, a delicious harvest to enjoy and share.

(“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5)



• 5 cups fresh apples, sliced (peeled or not, your choice)

• 1/2 cup white sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


• 1/2 cup flour

• 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

• 2/3 cup packed brown sugar

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Grease a deep dish pie plate or large baking dish with butter or cooking spray; set aside. Combine the sliced apples with the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a large bowl and mix until all of the apples are evenly coated. Pour into the prepared baking dish. In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Pour in the melted butter and stir until well coated and crumbly. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top of the apples. Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes until fruit is soft and the topping is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Kay Reminger was born and raised on a dairy farm, and she married her high school sweetheart, who happened to farm for a living in Leopolis. Writing for quite a few years, she remains focused on the blessings of living the ups and downs of rural life from a farm wife’s perspective.