Modern, traditional, and antique apples
Today I woke up to cooler air and said “OK, TODAY the fall season officially begins”.
I hope that you are feeling it too and with that you NEED to crunch into an apple because boy do we have apples this weekend.
There is so much more to tell you all and we will try and get another newsletter out next week, but this letter is going to be about APPLES.
We have our apples in three categories: Modern, Traditional, and Antique.
First of all we will talk about the newer apple varieties, or as we call them – Modern. I feel as though the exuberance of creating new varieties should be really exciting to me, however I sometimes find myself feeling intimidated and overwhelmed. To ensure quality, and also to limit quantities and command a premium price, some varieties, such as SweeTango, are made available ONLY to a select group or ‘club’ of growers, who typically pay a royalty or licensing fee. That means these trees are not typically available to small growers like us, and so I feel intimidated.
Now that does not mean that we are not able to grow any of the new Modern Varieties or that I do not like them. Early in the season we found that many of you really enjoyed Zestar! Zestar! along with Snowsweet, Sweet 16, and Keepsake are all new varieties that we grow. They all come from the Minnesota Apple Breeding program that gave us Honeycrisp. One of our own, Marnie MacGregor, is a PROUD Minnesota daughter of an apple grower and breeder. Her father developed KinderKrisp:
KinderKrisp is a brand new apple variety developed by David MacGregor, an independent fruit breeder based in South Haven, Minnesota. Exceptional flavor and crisp texture, like its parent Honeycrisp, this early ripening apple features much smaller fruit. Available through Stark Brothers fruit tree nursery.
We have ONE KinderKrisp tree that Marnie’s dad sent to us for "giving his daughter another orchard to work on" while she was attending Bard. We will be planting more of these soon. When Marnie comes back from a visit home, she is usually bearing ‘new’ apple varieties that her dad is working on for us to taste. Her enthusiasm for these new varieties is very contagious and I easily get caught up in the excitement of it all and I find that I do love new varieties.
Some other new varieties we grow are the Crimson Crisp and Crimson Gold. These we planted mainly because they were ‘scab resistant’, which meant less pesticides. But, WOW do we love them for their flavor. As I tell everyone – When Doug harvested the first Crimson Crisp apples, he called me from the orchard and said… “If this was the Garden of Eden, and this was the apple, I would sin….” I think that is about the best endorsement an apple could get.
This weekend we will have the following Modern varieties available:
So many new varieties are appearing and I can not seem to keep up. On top of all that I agree with Adam’s Apples Blog when he says, “Although the quality of all these modern apples is high (sweet, hard, crisp, flavorful, and durable), they are depressingly similar. They lie inches apart on a canvas that is miles wide, as if no one could possibly want anything else.”
That being said, let’s move onto Antique Apples- where apples are so unique and so different that to some of us, it is like being with an old friend. We LOVE Antique apples…
It makes me so happy when someone will come and tell us a story about how an apple variety makes them remember something….We had a woman so happy to see Ananas Reinette. She said that it took her back to being a young girl at University in Belgium, walking to class and eating one of those apples with the fall leaves falling around her.
Cox’s Orange Pippin seem to make any person from England smile.
For me, it is a Winesap Apple – the first variety name I learned from my dad.
It is so fun to cut open a Pink Pearl or a Hidden Rose and show people a pink-fleshed apple. Or to make them taste an Ashmead’s Kernel and learn what “not for sissy palates” means.
The history and story of each apple makes you want to get to know them better. Esopus Spitzenberg gets a lot of attention because it was supposedly Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apple. I sat and ate one the other night and I have to say, I love eating a good tart apple, but that “Spitz” was just sooo PLEASING….
IF our farm was to choose a mascot, it would have to be the Northern Spy apple. That apple variety has been grown on this land for more than 125 years. You know that people really love Northern Spy because they are not an easy apple to grow. Once you plant the tree, you have to wait 7-8 years until it produces fruit and then it will only give you fruit every other year. But…Here it is Gospel - "Spys are for Pies!" This apple variety also is so fragrant – whenever a bin comes in, you will see Noelle with her head in the bin enjoying that fragrant apple smell.
This week we will have the following Antique varieties:
Rhode Island Greening
Reninette du Canada
So that leaves us with our Traditional Varieties.
These apples we have moved to the wagon so that they are front and center and get the attention they have been deprived of, with all these newer varieties coming and all the Antique varieties stealing the show.
Empire is our most dependable producing apple. EVERY year we have a beautiful tree full of beautiful blossoms and always a great crop - we refer to it as the "Rodney Dangerfield of apples", because it "gets no respect"!
Many "traditional" varieties could be called "Antiques" because they have been around so long. McIntosh apples have been around since 1870, and has passed on its great genes to Cortland, Empire, and Macoun. Golden Delicious is like a grandmother to so many apples varieties. Cortland is like Grandpa Walton- so dependable, but with a little sass.
Many of you know that we refer to the Honeycrisp as the "Britney Spears of apples", or like the Homecoming Queen. When "Honeycrisp" is in the room, no other apple gets any attention. Jonagold is like the "1st Runner Up", so when we run out of Honeycrisp, I am happy that the Jonagold gets the attention she deserves. And...she makes a much better pie than Honeycrisp!
This week, the following Traditional Apples will be available:
So… We will be letting you taste ALL 22+ varieties available this weekend.
For Apple Pie you can go with our gospel – “Spys are for Pies” OR you could go down the historic path and use ‘Greenings” OR you can go traditional and stick with Cortland.
Speaking of Apple Pie...
Our 14th Annual Pie Contest
will be held
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Our theme for judges this year - REDHEADS!
For more information and sign up, just ask at the farmstand.
So, that is it for today - just apples....But isn't that such a great thing? It's why we know all of you...
See you all soon!
Doug and Talea
Tuesday - Sunday
9am - 6pm
Questions? Give us a ring at the market: 845-758-5476
Copyright © 2019 Doug and Talea Taylor, All rights reserved.
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