I grew up in a town that’s known as Apple Hill. It’s where all the people from the valley go to pick apples in the fall and Christmas trees in the winter. It’s a tourist town. I can’t count the number of times I heard people describing Apple Hill as adorable, rustic or earthy. I guess, it’s all of those things & more. Every town has its own history & heartache. There is something about the tourist mindset that wants to be believe some corner of the world is the romantic perfection they have read about in novels. If you only look at the sweeping mountains, the highways lined with trees and the massive lakes then you will find the mountain paradise of your dreams. If you know the people, the dentist turned farmer, the guy on the side of the road selling strawberries or the person keeping the old mill running, then you know that life everywhere is messy.
Every fall, the people from the city go off to pick apples in towns just like the one where I grew up. I usually grit my teeth and go to the orchards with all the other city-dwellers. For me, it’s the apples that remind me of home. Whenever I smell an apple turnover, I have the same memory: driving with my dad down a road lined with trees to a farm stand to pick up the best turnovers and fritters. They don’t taste the same here. I guess that’s the thing you have to get used to when you move to a new place – that nothing will be the same.
I fell in love with running in the forest. My friends and I spent our summers running and swimming along the lakes. One summer, my friend Jill and I swam around the perimeter of a lake picking up the bottles and cans that people threw into the water. It was our own little environmental adventure. I still remember it, because in a strange way, it was one of the most fun days that I’ve had in the mountains. Running in the city is different. I can still hear my childhood coaches pushing me to not just to run, but to fall in love with running.
Everything has an origin story. Everyone has parts of themselves that are fossilized, waiting to be discovered. The domestic apple originated in Turkestan and the wild apple in Central Asia. Apple Hill was started by a small group of retirees turned ranches, whose children and grandchildren would later form the bedrock of the community. I wasn’t born a runner. I was trained to run by two unbelievably talented runners. I unpack the gift every day that I step out my door, down by the water or running through the forest.
Aren’t we all a mix of lies and origin stories,
beautiful & messy.
– Vegan Apple Pie –
3 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup sunflower oil
10-12 tbs cold water
3 honey crisp apples peeled & sliced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbs apple butter*
1 1/2 tbs unbleached all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400° and place the rack on the lower portion of your oven. Start by preparing the pie filling. In a medium bowl, mix peeled and sliced apples, cinnamon, sea salt, sugar, apple butter and flour. I used apple butter from Boa Vista Orchards in California, per a care package from my mom. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add sunflower oil and combine until dough is crumbly. Add 8 tbs of cold water until you get a soft dough. Transfer to a floured surface and kneed into a ball. Divide in two, for the top and bottom crust. I left a little more for the bottom crust because I made simple strips for the top.
Roll out the bottom crust and flip gently roll it up to flip it into the 9.5″ pie pan. Roll out the remaining dough into a 10″ rectangle and slice into 1″-2″ strips. If you have any trouble, then you can always do some repairs one your dough is in the pan. Fill the pan with the pie filling, reserving the liquid. Cover with strips of dough. Pinch the edges of the pie crust and brush with oil or nondairy milk.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden brown. Let cool before serving, enjoy!