Well we found the countryside... the Los Angeles countryside that is, and no, I am not referring to the valley. A friend of mine who was also raised somewhere with real seasons suggested a day of apple picking a few hours outside Los Angeles, so naturally I said YES and immediately started planning my little autumn outing to a special little place called Riley's Farm. And yes, there's a cheese plate; there will always be a cheese plate, even on the farm. Enjoy. 

I'll admit the drive in from Los Angeles seemed a tad ambitious when I realized we were headed about as east of Los Angeles as Palm Springs, the place I had just drove in almost 5 hours of Friday afternoon traffic to get to the previous weekend. But given that we left pretty early on Saturday (around maybe 9:15am) the drive ended up being just short of two hours each way. We lucked out with our arrival time around 11am as the most desirable parking lot wasn't too full and the sun wasn't too strong. I think getting there as close as possible to the 9am opening time is probably the best move. Nonetheless, any variation of that drive seemed worth it once we arrived to a charming trellis with a sign that read "Welcome to Colonial Chesterfield." My reaction of course being, omg yes I am HOME. 

This place is adorable, definitely reminiscent of a farm on the east coast, despite the beautiful views of the mountains. It was clearly a perfect place to be outside of Los Angeles for someone like me craving a small slice of a season. And the sheep were cute too. There were also goats and a whole area dedicated to colonial pastimes like candle dipping, archery, axe-throwing (yes, it's apparently a thing) and I saw a blacksmith station so perhaps you can try your hand at making iron souvenirs? 

I was impressed to see how many different orchards they had. There was quite the selection of apples you could pick in addition to pears, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. I believe I saw a pumpkin patch that didn't seem ready for loads of children to pour but it made me think about how much more beautiful this place will likely become in the next several weeks with the foliage and October inspired events. 


After picking from a few apple orchards and pear trees we moseyed back over to the lawn and found a nice spot to sit and enjoy our picnic. Of course none of the treats I packed were homemade but perhaps that's why I like picnics so much. I did however, re-wrap the sandwiches I ordered from Whole Foods, in parchment paper and string. So there you go. 

I couldn't help but add a little pumpkin paraphernalia to garnish my mini cheese plate,  which otherwise consisted of a chunk of Murray's Irish cheddar, fresh blackberries, cashews, apricot jam and a creamy brie-like cheese that was really selected because of it's unique, flower shape. Of course I had my usual raw honeycomb all ready to go, but ended up saving it for another occasion after realizing I didn't bring wet wipes, which I highly recommend for anyone planning to dine outside. 

I couldn't help but stop by Winston Pies for this fall theme abiding mini cheery pie. I don't even like pie but how cute is this little creation, with a tiny star cutout in the middle? 


I was pleasantly surprised to see there was another little area on the other side of the farm, with a barbecue restaurant, market and gift shop. There was also a flower field we didn't make it to with the most beautiful autumn hued florals that would have been great to bring home if I was living in a finished condo. There were also several little shops that had lots of cute souvenirs and 18th and 19th century related trinkets, in addition to candies, apple cider, honey jars and jams. 

After we took a quick little tractor ride back down to the parking lot, we stopped at the bakery for some fuel for the ride home. I was quite tempted to grab the "giant cookie" advertised to go with my coffee but ended up taking a pass on the eventual sugar crash. My friend got an apple cider drink and it was delicious and all I could think about was how good it would be with some brut champagne and ice. A recipe I almost forgot I actually made two Fall's ago and was clearly missing. 

Fortunately our day at the farm satisfied a huge hole in my Los Angeles heart, giving us all a small taste of life outside the sunshine city that I now call home. 


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