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Apples, apples, apples, and thank goodness

September 26th, 2008 · 12 Comments · Farmers markets, Food selection, local food

The common wisdom is that the fruit trees in this region are making up this year for last year’s noncrop. Apple trees are no exception, sending out vast amounts of fruit, just as the pear trees and cherry trees and raspberry brambles did this year.

Sample apples

My first 2008 apples, as you may recall, were the summer Lodi apples. So far this fall, I’ve only received three free apples, as seen in the photo above, and they are humdingers. See that quarter there for size? And each apple weighs/weighed more than 8 ounces. My oldest sister gave them to me the other day, samples from her haul from Waverly, Missouri (something of a centroid of apple production in the area for one reason or another, including at Peters Orchard).

She gave me a sample of each of the three varieties she bought. From left, in the photo above, are Jonagold, Jonathan and Fuji. Only the Jonagold remains, and not for long. I’m quite sure I’ve never seen a Jonathan as big as this one was, but it’s flavor (sweet-tart) and texture were delicious. The Fuji was quite sweet. Both have, as expected, fairly thin skins.

Local apples

Meanwhile, I’ve been buying local apples, too. I bought Gala and Golden Delicious from a vendor at the Lawrence Farmers Market who was in from Sabetha, Kansas. (Or was it Seneca. Drat. Guess I’ll have to figure that out later.) I haven’t gotten into the Goldens yet, although the vendor said they were pretty tart, and they’re a little on the green side. I don’t doubt him; Golden Delicious are wonderful for baking (and not related to Red Delicious I learned recently), but the local ones never seem to capture the sweetness that the Washington ones do. The Galas were agreeably sweet and crisp.

I also bought Jonathans from Fieldstone Orchard of Overbrook, Kansas, at the Community Mercantile. Ken Krause, who chatted up Merc customers last Saturday on a vendors day, said the family also has a you-pick operation, which got a nice writeup in Fat City. And I got those 50-cent-a-pound Jonathans (scroll down for the apple reference on that link) at Davenport. I should have gotten more; they’re almost gone.

On top of all those apples are the three or four Red Delicious last week in my Rolling Prairie bag. Haven’t tried them yet. Red Delicious aren’t my favorite. Don’t care for the leathery skin or the supersweet (or tasteless) flavor and the often-mealy texture. But. I’m sure these are dandy, and they probably are the only organic ones in the lot.

How ’bout them apples?

The Jonathan and Golden Delicious are probably my favorites for their lovely but different flavors and their versatility for eating and baking. What are your favorites? Why?

Amazingly, for all these apples, I have yet to bake apple anything. I’ve just eaten them daily, sometimes two or three of them. Like the trees, I’m trying to make up for last year’s noncrop.

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • susan

    DID WHOEVER IT WAS YOU WORK WITH WITH THE APPLES HAVE MORE THIS YEAR?!?!? i want some.

  • Janet Majure

    I’ll ask, Susan. And why are you shouting?

  • Joanne

    Ohh, apples. YUM. I like a lot of varieties. I enjoy Jonathan, Empire, Macintosh…for eating. An Arkansas Black is flavorful and lasts a long time, but they are small. An Ida Red is perfect for the end of the season (pick them in November, they’ll last until March in your frig). Golden Delicious are good for pie. Red Delicious, grown locally and ripened properly, can be actually delicious sometimes. One of my new favorites is a Honeycrisp, it’s a July apple around here. It’s great for sauce, very flavorful.

    As you can tell, I hardly ever meet a homegrown apple I didn’t like. I don’t like waxy skinned mealy things, but they are usually from the grocery store and are old!

  • Susan Gandy

    This is the sister who gave Janet the apples in the photo. We drove out to Waverly, Mo. from Olathe, Kansas. I-70 to Odessa, north to Lexington, east towards Waverly on Hiway 24. Took maybe an hour and a half. We usually prefer a more winding way, but left late and feared they’d be closed.

    Anyway, it is Rasa Orchard and I believe they have a website. They had some apples last year but nothing like I’ve ever seen in my life like this year. Holy cow. Bob (husband) walked our dogs back into the orchards for a while an could barely walk thru all the falls on the ground. A friend told me about this place and they had tried several in the area before returning to Rasa repeatedly. It is not u-pick. But each peck was $7 and, as Janet said, the apples were huge. Compared to what you’d pay in the store (at 8 oz.) you’d pay $2-3 per pound (or 2 apples, in this case!).

    My favorite eating apple is usually Fuji, it’s a little sweeter, but I think I now prefer Jonagold – which is the one that Janet hadn’t yet tried. I love them, very juicy, nice balance between Jonathan and Golden Delicious flavors, but they keep longer than the Goldens.

    I’m usually cranking out pies and crisps by now, but the warmer weather and just munching the raw ones has kept me from baking yet, as well. Looks like the weatherman says we’re in for a cooler week, so I believe a crisp is in the offing.

    Man, I just love apples!

    Sister Susan

  • Janet Majure

    Hey, Joanne. I have never had Arkansas Black, but I guess I’d better! If they’re small, I eat two.

    Susan, I couldn’t find a site for Rasa Orchard, but I did find this information about them on the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce website: The orchard is at 19510 Garr Rd., Lexington, MO 64067; phone (660) 259-2938, Norman Rasa proprietor, Orchards/Roadside Produce (and related products) Market.

    The short story, from my perspective, is you can’t have too many apples!

  • susan

    didnt mean to shout. just excited, thats all. those are the best apples EVER

  • Joseph

    Wonderful apple exploration! I have to agree when the fall apples start coming in, I always have grand plans to bake various pies, quick breads and pastries, but I always end up eating most of the apples raw. Nothing quite like that daily bite into a tart and juicy apple.

    I’m not picky, but I love the tarter varieties. Granny Smiths, Golden Delicious are great for baking, but I like eating them raw as well. Juicy Fujis are great, as are Galas. I’m lucky being in California that the Central Valley and the Southern California Inland Empire feed plenty of great apples throughout the season. Whatever the farmers bring to the market is good enough for me.

  • Janet Majure

    Thanks, Joseph. I’ll be posting more on apples today! Wait till you see what I brought home. :)

  • Applooza loads me with apples, and I like it! | foodperson.com

    […] which tastes went with what flavors. Nevertheless, based partly on the tasting and partly on Joanne’s recommendations, I bought a half-dozen or so of both Arkansas Black and Honeycrisp […]

  • evelyn Privett

    I love Rome Apples but I never kind find them except at Holidays Wal Mart in Sedalia, Mo 65301 has them

  • evelyn Privett

    I love Rome Apples, but can’t find them except at Wal Mart at xmas time. In Sedalia Mo 65301

  • Janet Majure

    Hi, Evelyn. If memory serves (which, I’ll admit, it often doesn’t), Trails West Farm from Eudora, a vendor at the Lawrence Farmers Market, had Rome Beauty (or a relative) at the market this past Saturday. I do think they’re pretty unusual around here though.