Remember last year, we went to Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello to taste apples with the legendary Tom Burford? Probably not, since I seem to have neglected to blog about it. Anyway, it was a catalytic experience that launched the Stray Arrow orchard project. I knew if we planted apples, I would want to do a similar thing here.
I am not a patient person. We planted an orchard, but we will be lucky to see a fruit or two next year. That fact, however, has not stopped us from organizing the first Stray Arrow Ranch Apple Tasting event for the first Saturday in October.
The necessary, enabling action is then to acquire apples, preferably something other than the six grocery store apples everyone is familiar with. Thus, R and I have been on a hunt for apples. Seasonally, we are in the transition between summer apples and fall apples. Summer apples typically don’t keep well. They need to be eaten right away or processed. I would love to have some Pink Pearls, but they may not last. The long-keepers tend to ripen late. Granny Smith, which reportedly can keep a year in cold storage, is one of the last apples to be harvested.
Our friend Tom in Salt Lake has set aside some fruit from his personal orchard. Tom says he even may be to send us some Esopus Spitzenberg, an apple we planted based on its reputation, but have never tried. R is in NYC doing an important science experiment with Bryan, and they will check out a Greenmarket farmers’ market near their hotel. They are bringing back whatever they can manage in their luggage.
In the meantime, I am scouring the county for apples. I want to bother some people who have a tree known locally as the “One pie apple,” which is probably a Winter Banana variety. Most folks just have Red or Golden Delicious, if they even know the name of the variety. Luckily, just eleven miles from our place are the heritage orchards at Capitol Reef National Park.
The Capitol Reef Red apple, our local specialty, is a more of summer apple. I collected some in August; they went mushy. I made applesauce with them yesterday. So we went back to the park to see what is ripening up and came home with a bunch of treasures from the Jackson orchard. None of the trees are labeled so I need to confirm with a park interpreter which apples these might be. All I know today is that no two varieties taste remotely alike (think lemons vs limes) but they all have that apple-y goodness of tree-ripened fruit.
When you go to a small town grocery store like ours in Loa, the local wedding invitations are taped to the checkout counter with a note that says something like, “In all the excitement, if we have missed you, please consider this your invitation and come join us that day!” We aren’t putting any such sign up at the local Foodtown, but that sentiment applies to you blog readers. If you want to come to Torrey to taste some apples and to a potluck to meet the neighbors, send me an email for directions and instructions on what to bring and where to park. It’s going to be a tasty time.