Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Apple A Day

Fall is one of the best times of year. The crisp air, watching leaves change color, pumpkins, football season, fresh apples… it is a great luxury to be able to experience the changing of seasons. Both Michigan and New York are fantastic places to be when the weather turns cooler. Even though it may rain a significant amount of the time and you know snow is not that far away, it’s still such a relief when the heat breaks and the leaves start to fall.

One of my favorite things is biting into a crisp apple, hearing the crunch and tasting the juicy freshness. Not only do apples taste fantastic, but they can be used in so may different recipes, each variety has a distinct flavor and they are good for us!

Most apple varietys are harvested in the fall and for many people in Michigan, that means apple cider and donuts! Uncle John’s Cider Mill near St. Johns, is frequently visited by many in Mid-Michigan and I have made my fair share of visits over the years. Not long after we started dating, my husband and I drove up there one Sunday afternoon to take a walk on their paths, check out the press and enjoy some fresh cider and hot donuts. Another year, when we returned home for our annual MSU Football game, we took a few hours and drove up with my Dad to satisfy our craving. I don’t think my Dad minded too much. When we moved out here, people would give me strange looks when I would mention that this is a Fall staple. When you live in the city without a car, it’s difficult to get to an apple orchard. But one Fall we took a weekend trip up to Connecticut in part to find an apple orchard, some apple cider and donuts. We found them at a cute family run orchard just outside of Mystic. We were in Heaven! Many stands at the Union Square Farmer’s Market sell wonderfully fresh Apple Cider, but only a handful have donuts and they aren’t quite as fresh as I’m used to. But, it still works when you’re in a pinch. It’s strange that I get this fall craving for Apple Cider and donuts because I really never eat donuts the rest of the year and really, I’m completely satisfied with just one or two in the Fall. I guess it’s just one of those traditions, like watching the Spartans trudge through another Big Ten football season.

Apple growers in Michigan have reported higher than usual harvests of Honeycrisp apples this year than in years past. This is fantastic news since Honeycrisp apples are FANTASTIC! While the variety has already hit shelves in the state, the Michigan Apple Committee believe that supplies of this juicy apple may last through the end of the year. A few of the other Michigan grown varieties available now or soon include Jonathan, Jonagold, Ida Red, and Braeburn (late October). Check out this site for more information on Michigan apples, including a list of orchards!

New York has a great apple industry as well. There are plenty of orchards around the state supplying bushels of Crispin, Ida Red, Macoun, Northern Spy, Newton Pippin (there’s an interesting story around this variety right now, I may get into that in a future post), Stayman/Winesap, and many others. Here’s a great site to check out if you’re interested in NY apples.

Both sites are great resources for cooking and storing tips, recipes, and other apple tips. Apples are great additions to any meal or a perfect snack with a little bit of peanut butter!


Jen Cole said...

I'm a Fuji girl, but those Honeycrisps are delicious! Good to know the crop will last longer this year. I think it's brought down the price, at least here in Michigan. They are just slightly higher in price than the other apples. Last year, they were at least $2 more per pound!

Let us know when you come to town for a game!

Morgan said...

Can not WAIT to go home next week and hit up the orchards!

Barbara said...

Honey Crisps are wonderful , but still pricey. Up North at Cherry Street market they were still $1.99 a pound. A friend here in Okemos said apples where on sale at the MSU orchard last Friday and Honey Crisps were $45 a bushel . That's a lot ! But who needs a bushel at a time ?
Lisa , do you + Matt want to go to Unsle John's after the Homecoming game ?

Jen Cole said...

Michigan Honeycrisps at Horrocks were less than $1.99 a pound. I want to say it was $1.69 maybe (last week anyway)? Go stock up! :)