Fresh & New
Alex Jones, Farmstand Product Manager
This is my first dispatch of autumn, and if you know me, you know that that means I'll be getting in-depth about apples today! But first, a quick roundup of other exciting fall goodies debuting at the Farmstand this week.
Concord grapes and custardy pawpaws top the list of short-season items this time of year, so make sure you get your fill of these hard-to-find fruits. Paradise Hill Farm's chemical-free heirloom cranberries have arrived -- transition away from summery cocktails by adding them to a bracing batch of sangria. We've got an army of radishes on hand for your salads, slaws, braises, tacos, pickles, and kimchi: black Nero Tondo, daikon, purple globe, juicy green meat, and watermelon (aka red meat) varieties! And rutabagas, winter squash, purple sweet potatoes, and ornamental pumpkins are ready to make all your fall dishes (and tablescapes, of course) shine.
And now, apples! You're probably familiar with many of the varieties grown in our region each year -- crunchy Fuji, juicy Honeycrisp, oversized Mutsu -- but it can be tough to keep up with so many varieties. Here's the first in a series of roundups on our current apple selection, with key information from The New Book of Apples and an excellent online resource, Orange Pippin.
Because apple seeds are extremely heterozygous (the offspring differ greatly form their parents) lots of plant breeding efforts have gone into making the tasty and unique varieties we know today. It may not be essential to know their place of origin and parentage, but seeing that varietals have been developed on several continents just shows how apples are loved the world over. And of course, we've included the best way to enjoy each variety.
- Cortland - Great for eating fresh, baking or freezing. Pale green with stripey red flush. Sweet flavor with a wine-like quality and soft flesh. Macintosh crossed with Ben Davis. Dates back to 1898, originating in Geneva, NY.
- Empire - Best for eating fresh. Bright red flush, tough skin, and sweet, Mac-esque flavor; resists bruising. Macintosh crossed with Delicious. Dates back to 1945, originating in Geneva, NY.
- Fuji - Crunchy, firm flesh and sweet, honeyed flavor with a tough skin. Characterized by its buff-green color underneath pink-to-red striping. Best eaten fresh or juiced. Ralls Janet crossed with Delicious. Dates back to 1939, originating in Japan.
- Gala - We have Crimson Galas in stock this week -- an extra-red, striped skin with tinges of gold, and juicy, flavor redolent of honey. Eat fresh or juiced. A cross of Golden Delicious and Kidd's Orange Red. Dates back to 1934, originating in New Zealand.
Gingergold - An early season apple that won't be around much longer, with a pale yellow-green skin, creamy flesh, and a sweet, spicy flavor. Eat fresh, cooked into sauce, or baked. A cross of Golden Delicious and Newtown Pippin. Dates back to the 1960s, originating in Virginia.
Honeycrisp - The Cadillac of apples, extra-sweet, crunchy, and often a bit oversized -- bred to grow well in cold climates. Enjoy fresh or sauced. Keepsake (itself the offspring of Northern Spy) crossed with an unknown variety. Dates back to the 1960s, originating in Minnesota.
Jonamac - Taste for the occasional hint of strawberry in this sweet, acidic variety. Cross of Jonathan and Macintosh. Dates back to 1944, originating in Geneva, NY.
McIntosh - The parent of so many of these other varieties, sweet, tender-fleshed Mac is also the oldest on today's list. Best enjoyed fresh or cooked. Possibly Fameuse crossed with Detroit Red. Dates back to the 1820s, originating in Quebec.
Swiss Arlet - Crisp and sweet, with flavors of honey. A variety new to our area, grown by Three Springs Fruit Farm. Enjoy fresh or cooked. A cross of Golden Delicious and Ida Red. Dates back to 1958, originating in Switzerland.