SPEAK THE NAME... of some places and you're bound, within a few words, to say another word, a food-specific word, that is frequently associated with the location. Bring up Hatch, New Mexico in a conversation and the word "chile" will soon be uttered, you can count on it. A mention of Temecula may soon be followed by "wine" and Bodega Bay will surely inspire someone in the group to shout out "chowder!" (because chowder should always be shouted out, with much ebullience). So if we were to drop the name of Julian into this conversation, what is the edible item that first pops into your mind? Into all of our minds? Into the minds of people far from Southern California, who've perhaps aren't all that acquainted with the pert little township (as if not being acquainted with Julian's charms was a real thing)? Yep, you thought "apple," we all thought "apple," which is right and good and how it should be. Because the Gold Country burg is synonymous with the crunchy, tree-pretty fruit, all year long, in its various pies and jams and other take-home-and-enjoy treats. But come the fall? Hoo boy, the appleness of Julian grows to mammoth proportions, when everyone wanting an autumn day out, picking fruit or eating it, makes for the mountain-snug village.
SEPT. 26-27... is the official weekend for Julian's annual Apple Days, a two-day cores-and-more confab that'll branch out at Menghini Winery. Think fall-type to-dos -- antique tractors and gold panning and the eating of pie and the dancing to show your love of pie -- and think of all sorts of apple-y amazements. Of course, if you can't be up the hills over the final weekend in September, you can go apple picking around the town, at places like Apple Starr Orchard (where you can bag up the Jonagolds for later enjoyment). And, of course, if you like your crunch to already be bestowed with crust, there are several all-the-time, not-just-in-autumn pie shops in town, like Mom's and Julian Pie Company. So, can you say "Julian" and not immediately follow it up with a particular fruit? It's difficult, too difficult, so we'll just stick with keeping the charming town and tasty apples simpatico in our mind, for always.