I've been apple picking more times than I can count. I've never had an experience that was more negative and off-putting than the one I had this weekend at an Upstate New York farm this past weekend.

I understand that a business has to have some rules to protect themselves from thieves and damage caused by some less than law-abiding people, but does it have to reunion this fall activity for everyone?

My wife, daughter and I drove up to one apple orchard on Saturday morning to buy some apples, drink some cider, and just have some fun family time before my daughter moves to L.A. for school.

Our first indication that maybe we should have turned around and just gone to Hannaford to get our apples was the price. Holy sticker shock Batman! For the three of us to gain admission to the apple orchard and go home with a small bag of apples it was about $35! We could have gone to a movie and been entertained for two hours for that price.

As we drive into the orchard we were treated by dozens of signs warning us that we could only put apples in our bag given to us by the farm, we were warned that apple throwing would result in being kicked out and the kicker, we were subject to a search of our person and vehicle when we left the orchard.

So, we spent about 20 minutes picking apples.... which works out to about $1.75 a minute for us to pick a small bag of apples and fall fun. Not exactly a bargain.

The worst part of the experience came when we left. They stop our car at a booth and demand to see our receipt. Of course, I couldn't find it and figured they would just say, "That's okay have a good day." Nope, not at all. The lady at the booth said we couldn't leave without a receipt....luckily I found it and I didn't have to press that issue.

Then she told us that she had to search our car for apples we might have stolen while we were there. Apparently, they have an APB out for an apple bandit and it looks like me. Actually, they do this for every vehicle. I get it, people suck sometimes and they steal apples, but man, did it put a negative cap on an already negative experience.

Now, I don't know if all the apple orchards in the Capital Region operate the same way, but if they do, I'll never go apple picking again.

So, to the orchard is it really worth treating your all of customers like criminals just to keep from losing a few apples? Or should I be angry at the apple stealing criminals that have caused this situation that has ruined this fall tradition?

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