Apple Dumplings, Root Beer Saloon, My Grandparents and Me…

It has been over 15 years since my last solo trip to visit my grandparents… and that is 15 years too long.

I am very lucky. I get to see my grandparents, who live 2,173 miles away from me, at least twice a year. But those visits usually include at least 12 other relatives as well, making one-on-one time highly unlikely.

So when I knew I was going to Missouri for the fiber arts book I am working on, I decided to make a special trip to see my grandparents, who live in the next state over. And it was wonderful.

As I drove our usual route to their house, the endless fields of corn and soybeans were the first difference that I noticed. Because in December, when we usually go to their house, the endless fields of corn and soybeans just look like endless fields of flat brown-ness. They laughed when I told them about my astute observation.

So the next day, my grandparents took me on a drive to see more of their farm and wine country.


The first stop on our adventure was an old apple orchard where we got to watch the machinery sort and bag the apples. Watching the machine put the twist-ties on the bags was the most surprising part. I never thought about how the twist-ties got on to bags of apples before.


We met the patriarch of a 4th generation apple farm. He told us their farm started with 42 acres, but now it has grown to over 2,000 acres, and a lot of their apples go to Wal-Mart. He doesn’t think his grandchildren have any interest in taking over the farm.


I had my very first apple dumpling. Although, I couldn’t tell much difference between it and apple pie. It tasted the same, but just a little more gooey. Next time I think I will stick with the pie, like my Grandma.


After filling up on pie and dumplings, we drove through a small town that is home of the Root Beer Saloon. Honestly, I was so full from sweet stuff already, I couldn’t imagine having a root beer… but how could I not?

I told them we had to go in, because Arann would have wanted us too, and I was glad we did.


Not only is it a Root Beer Saloon, but the husband/owner also makes custom guitars and is a taxidermist. So the place was covered head to toe with amazing dead things to look at. Sadly, I was told no photographs, but I managed to get this one in, before I was politely asked to refrain.


To make me feel better, the wife/owner offered to take our picture. At the time, I reluctantly agreed to, in a humoring sort of way. But now I am so glad I did. It was such a special occasion and I am grateful to have a photo remind me of our adventure together… just the three of us.


About the author paige green

Paige Green is a documentary and portrait photographer, whose storytelling approach to photography frequently addresses issues involving agriculture, land use, and food. Her work is featured in nine books and has been published in Glamour, National Geographic Traveler, New York Times Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Country Living, House Beautiful, and Culture. Paige lives in Petaluma, CA with a house full of boys.

All posts by paige green →


  1. paige you are so magical. my eyes got a little weepy. makes me think of my trip to iowa for my grandma’s birthday. grandparents are so wonderful. your pictures are always beautiful.


  2. I came to your blog hoping to see pictures of your new dog, but found so many other wonderful things. Please print these pictures for me. You are so special and I love your work.


  3. So gorgeous! Paige I was wondering about your workflow with your Rolleiflex. I love shooting with mine as well, but found the scanning and archiving side a big hustle. How do you do it!?


  4. i’m so glad you let her take your photo–it’s beautiful.
    i especially like the ones you took of the apple farmer and the apple machine. i would have been in heaven in each one of those spots you visited.


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