September 28-29

Fall has arrived! It’s a beautiful day out here in the orchard (on Saturday at least) and I’ve never seen so many people lounging around the grounds.

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For apples this week, we have the following:

  • Wolf River: a large and surprisingly light apple. Great for making dried apples

  • Haralson: a tart Minnesota classic and a long-time favorite for pies

  • a mystery apple: these trees we got from the nursery were not what we ordered! Maybe Belle de Boskoop? Maybe Bramley’s Seedling? We’re not sure yet and we’ll keep working on figuring it out.

  • Cortland: here’s the apple of the week this week. Rich, apple flavor and just picked, so excellent texture.

  • McIntosh: a classic heirloom variety from Ontario, great for sauce

  • Liberty: a child of McIntosh and a scab resistant variety from the Purdue-Rutgers-Illinois breeding program.

  • Honeycrisp: no explanation necessary

  • Sweet Sixteen: a sleeper but a stunner of an apple. When perfectly ripe, you can taste cherry popsicle flavors and a hint of anise.

We’ve also got a few apples just for tasting — they’re from second-year trees and so the crop isn’t huge, but it’s enough so that we can share a taste with you.

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This apple is a French variety called Pomme Gris. These two-year old trees made it through our tough winter beautifully. This is a pleasant russeted eating variety. Its origins are disputed: some believe it’s from 17th-century France and others believe it’s a more recent discovery from Canada.

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Here’s a weird one: it’s actually from the University of Minnesota and has been around for a long time, but was only recently released. It was known as a numbered variety — MN447 — for a long time and then when folks’ tastes turned toward more interesting flavors, the U had a naming contest for this apple so it’s now known as Frostbite. It’s a parent of Sweet Sixteen and Keepsake, which also makes it a grandparent of Honeycrisp. You can see where Honeycrisp got its texture but this apple has a strange flavor that’s fairly divisive.

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Finally this week, we have Bulmer’s Norman, which is a cider apple. We may run out of this one on Saturday but if we do, we’ll pull out another cider variety for you to try. Bulmers Norman is a bittersweet apple from Normandy, France.