Saturday, October 2, 2010

Apples of September (2010)

September starts with a parade of interesting but short-lived summer apples and ends with some of the finest varieties at their peak.

This year I was especially interested to see how Spring's unusual weather would affect the harvest. One grower had wildly predicted McIntosh in mid-August (even as he was selling Lodi apples harvested much too early).

We dodged that particular sign of the apocalypse, though the same grower was selling russets in mid-September that were pretty much ripe. (These were not very flavorful, though.) I started eating Macouns the end of the first week in September that were very good, though not at peak. That's a bit early but not beyond the pale.

I still think of McIntosh and Macoun as standouts of the month, but there is no denying that Honeycrisp is very popular. Both Honeycrisp and Macoun command a premium at the market, in some cases a full dollar a pound more than other varieties.

These include Cortland, of which there seem to be many this year, also Brock, Jonagold, Fuji, Gala, Spencer, and Shamrock. You could still get Gravensteins during the first half of the month, and Paula Red had an even longer run.

There are so many varieties that I am not going to list them all (as I tried to do for July and August), let alone eat them all this year.

For my part, I found a trove of apples this month to try for the first time. Many of these grew on an organic farm in Concord (Massachusetts), where the farmer has made some intriguing apple-tree choices. I am still digesting some of these (literally and figuratively), and will have more reviews soon.

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