Harvest Headline - September
Apples are some of the first fall fruits to arrive for the season – with some varieties arriving as early as August. However, farmers say that the wet winter has delayed, their harvests, so we can expect them to begin harvesting a bit later than last year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t start getting excited about the tempting aroma of baked apples or apple pie!
There are so many varieties of apples to choose from at your farmers’ market –, many more than you’ll find at any grocery store. And with many farmers returning to growing traditional heirloom varieties you’ll discover they have better flavor than the hybrids we’re used to. The Gravenstein, Arkansas Black, and Pink Lady are just a few of the old varieties that farmers have returned to growing,
There are apples best for baking, apples that are best for applesauce, and many that are best for eating out of hand. Sotalk with your local farmer to find the perfect match for your cooking and eating needs.
Sylvia Prevedelli of Prevedelli Farms in Watsonville grows some very interesting and delicious apples. They’ve been growing apples since the 1930s and have expanded their repertoire to 36 varieties, including Jewel, Black Twig, Aztec Fuji, Cameo, and others, all with different flavor and texture profiles, and all delicious. They’ve been certified organic for many years.
This year, Sylvia says, “Our trees are filled with apples this year, thanks to all the rain last winter. It caused some minor flooding, but not enough to damage the orchards. The apples are being harvested a little later than last year and the quality is really good. First come the Gravensteins at the end of the month and then some of our favorite Crimson Crisp and Cameo apples.”
Another apple farmer, Rainbow Orchards, grows apples at an elevation of 3,400 feet, in the hills of Camino. They grow heirloom varieties like Braeburn, Pippin, Fuji, Honey Crisp, Arkansas Black, and hybrids. Beginning in September, they’ll have Gala, Red Delicious & Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Jonathon, and Macintosh Apples.
Farmer West Betty of Rainbow Orchards says, "This year is going to be a huge crop, but we’re behind by about a month. They’ll be arriving mid to late September. Gala and Johnathan will be the first we bring to market. Typically, our Jonathan apples don't make it to the farmers' market, but we're having such a large crop we will be sending some this year." The harvest is later than usual because of the wet winter.
Inzana Ranch in Hughson, has been growing a variety of tree fruit and nuts on their 190-acre ranch since 1985 and is certified organic. Their crops this year have been bountiful, to put it mildly. The apples are being harvested a little late as well, with many varieties coming in soon. They grow over 30 apple varieties and look forward to bringing you some delicious apples this month.
There are many other apple farmers you’ll see at PCFMA farmers’ markets this season. Stop by and say hello, ask them what varieties would be best for your needs – or just try some of each! You won’t find many of these varieties at your grocery store!