We have finished picking peaches here, always a welcome day on the farm, celebrated with donuts for the crew and a collective sigh.  While peaches are great no doubt, they are persnickety, touchy and require great care. Now we are full swing in apples, apples, apples, pears, plums and heirloom tomatoes.
We grow twenty-two varieties of apples, approximately 30 acres (and somewhere around 18,000 apple trees, if you’re counting). We start picking our Gala apples around Labor Day–or earlier as Mother Nature requires–and pick strong until the end of October with Braeburns and Fujis.  Over the years, we started growing heirloom apple varieties, as customers have asked for them at our farmers markets.  If you aren’t familiar with some of the heirloom varieties, consider these: Ashmead’s Kernel, Karminjen Sonneville, Pitmaston Pineapple, and my favorite~ Esopus Spitzenburg.  Sometimes I think we grow these simply because their names are so fun to say!
I love apples.  I love how they look.  I love how they feel in your hand.  I love how they taste when you bite into one.  I love throwing the core into the orchard and I love smashing a big ol’ apple on the ground so my dog can eat it. I love making applesauce and apple cake and apple dumplings.  Don’t tell my husband this, but I love apples more than I love…peaches. I love that you can put an apple in a lunchbox and it doesn’t smash.  I love that you can put an apple in the front seat of the car in the heat All Day and it doesn’t ooze all over the seat. I love that kids can loose their teeth eating an apple.  The Tooth Fairy loves apple, too.
And how do they taste?  Oh My. I recently described a Gala apple as having hints of banana and pineapple to a friend. He’s a serious wine guy, so of course made the jump from how I was describing the taste of an apple, to the flavor of wine.  It got me thinking…how do you describe the taste of an apple? When I bite into a Gala, I taste fall, always.  A Gala to me, is a taste that epitomizes the waning of summer with the promise of a glorious fall. A Golden Supreme apple is like a soft taste of fresh cream with a hint of sweetness.  The tart of a Jonathon makes my mouth water and immediately I think of my Mom’s caramel apples. Sooooo good. And that Esopus Spitzenburg?  Like a spritz of tart on the front of your tongue, followed by honeyed sweet that sits in your mouth.  Speaking of honey, what about a HoneyCrisp?  The wonderful “new” apple that is turning people on to eating apples again. Now that’s an apple that tastes like honey.
So as you eat an apple this season, think about how it tastes and how you would describe it.  Let me know~ I’d love to hear!

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