Apple-Chucking is a Midwestern tradition. At least for our family. We got the chance to get out to an orchard this week, and we were reminded of how much joy the activity brings. If you want to try it for yourself, here are the steps to a happy Apple-Chucking experience:
Go to an apple orchard. The ideal time frame is sometime from mid-September through mid-October. Our family is particularly fond of Beckwith Orchards, just east of Kent.
Walk through the woods just beyond the orchard and look for sticks that have already fallen from the trees. (It is not honorable to harm living trees in the process of apple-chucking). Choose a stick that isn’t too green, but also not too dry or brittle. The ideal chucking stick is about as long as one’s arm and as thick as one’s index finger at its base. Its point should be sharp (or made to be sharp).
Walk into the apple orchard with your stick, looking for apples that have already fallen from the trees. (It is not honorable to harm viable fruit in the process of apple-chucking). The ideal apples are large and ripe, or slightly-overripe.
Spear your chosen apple with your chosen stick. Experience suggests that it tends to work best when you spear more flesh than core. But however you do it, just make sure that your stick goes through a little more than half of the apple. The stick should be firmly lodged within the fruit. But not too firmly lodged.
Launch the apple by whipping the stick over your shoulder, like the racket motion on a tennis serve. Flick your wrists approximately when the stick is even with your ears to help dislodge the apple and send it soaring into the sky. A long, tall arc is ideal. It may take a few chucks for you to get the hang of things. Practice makes perfect.
Watch the apple fly past the beautiful fall foliage until it crashes to the ground. Most times, it will just fall with a thud or bounce once or twice along the ground. Sometimes, the apple will crack in half. Under ideal conditions, however, the apple will explode into ten different pieces. When this happens, all participants should cheer as if their favorite team just hit a home run.
Our family has been Apple-Chucking for years. It has truly become one of our favorite fall traditions. Let us know if you have any experiences — or special advice — of your own!