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Archive for the ‘Apples’ Category

Apple Harvest is coming up soon and it looks to be a record harvest year here in Washington State. If you are thinking about pressing apples this year and have yet to purchase a cider press, you can find some great ones at The Fruit Press!

More posts to come as we enter September and October. Have a great end of the summer everyone!

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Great publication on the forgotten apples in United States History, compiled by Cory Paul Nabhan.

Executive Summary excerpt:

“The f irst-ever gathering of grassroots apple conservationists in the United States, organized by the Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT) Alliance on March 19, 2009 in Madison, WI, acknowledged that not only are many apple varieties endangered, but the unique “apple culture” of America is endangered as well. These experts—who have collectively had more than two hundred years of experience in apple nurseries and orchards—charted a plan that would restore apple diversity to our farms and gardens, restaurants and cideries, home kitchens and festivals.”

For a complete reading, click on the link below:

http://www.slowfoodusa.org/images/ark_products/applebklet_web-3-11.pdf

Enjoy!

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The family and I had a succesful weekend of cider pressing. Every year we go over to my in-law’s home and press apples for fresh cider. This year we used Honeycrisp apples that my father-in-law grows, as well as Red Delicious apples from Yakima and a few other varieties. We were pressing about 1 bushel of apples to yield a gallon or gallon and one-half. This is the first year I’ve really paid attention to yield per bushel. Does anyone else have any statistics on how many gallons of cider they yield per bushel or box of apples?

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Honeycrisp apples have gained significant popularity over the past few years, even though they have been around for quite some time. Honeycrisp apples are the result of a 1960’s cross-breeding of the Macoun and Honeygold apple varieties. A project of the University of Minnesota apple breeding program. This year’s harvest of Honeycrisps will probably produce another year of growth. In Washington  State alone Honeycrisp production growth was 118% from 2006 to 2007 and another 33% from 2007 to 2008. Honeycrisps are a great table apple as well as a great blending apple for fresh apple cider.

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The Kingston Black apple is another variety of apple that is best suited for cider making only. With its bitter taste it isn’t much of an eating apple like so many of the apples grown in the United States. In  fact, most cider making apple varieties don’t even look like the larger Red Delicious or Fuji’s that everyone  loves to eat. Most cider making apples are smaller and tend to grow in clusters of 3 or more. If you are looking to grow cider apples or if you are looking for a variety to buy to make hard cider, the Kingston Black may be a good place to start. It is a good stand alone variety, or varietal, so you don’t necessarily need to blend this apple variety with other apple varieties. If you do want to grow a Kingston Black apple tree, you can purchase them in the States and they are best suited to grow in hardiness zones 4-9. This hardiness zone covers a majority of the US, from the Yakima Valley in Washington State to the Tennessee River Valley. See the map below. The only climates to avoid would be the northern plains and the southern tip of Florida.

Climate and growing zones for the United States

Climate and growing zones for the United States

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Apple a Day

Two Yakima women have started a pretty cool business this summer. The Apple-a-day business was started to provide a healthy snack for local businesses. Basically, every week they will deliver fresh apples to each client (doctors offices, law firms, ect.). Apple-a-day provides a cooler to keep the apples in, much like a smaller vending machine, which a clear glass front. As businesses have clients coming and going throughout the day they can enjoy  fresh Washington Apples…not a bad idea.

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According to the Washington State Apple Commission, Washington harvests close to 100 million boxes of apples annually. This equates to about 10 billion individual apples that are handpicked. The top five varieties of apples expected for this year’s harvest are Red Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith and Golden. Together they make up about 90% of total apples grown. And with over 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States, the only native apple is the crab apple. Washington State apples are harvested from mid-August (Gala) to as late as November (Cripps Pink). Many Farmers and orchardists have “pressing parties” this time of year, especially when you start to harvest a couple different varieties. Homemade cider from Washington State grown apples is hard to beat. Pressing homemade cider with your own Cider press  is fun for the entire family.

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With harvest season in full effect it is no wonder that September is designated as the National Apple Month. Everywhere from New Hampshire to Washington State, apple growers are harvesting their fruits. This is also a good opportunity for apple cider makers to find quality apples at little or no cost. There are always apple trees that are neglected or not for commercial production where you will be able to pick apples for your cider making. Don’t be shy, just ask the tree owners if they would mind if you pick some of their apples. If the apples go un picked, they fall to the ground and create a mess…along with a lot of scavengers. Make use of the good fruit while they are still hanging on the trees!

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If you are in the Philly area this harvest season, you’ll definitely want to check out West Chester’s Highland Orchards. In operation since 1941 with over 200 acres of fruit, you can pick your own apples for cider pressing. They have a number of varieties of apples as well including: Empire, Jonagold, Stayman, Ida Red, Mutsu, Winesap, Rome, Granny Smith and Fuji. Be sure to check out Highland Orchards before October 31st.  Tours, good food, rides and other activities are also available.

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In what looks like an effort to cut out the middle man, Wal-mart is planning to open an office in Yakima, Washington that will buy directly from growers. Who knows what effect this could have on the overall fresh produce market, and we will see if it materializes. Click here for the full story.

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