Saving the Gravenstein Apple
The Gravenstein is a favorite apple among apple connoisseurs. Its crisp tart flavor is a late summer delight. The drought has been hard on the growers in Sonoma County near Sebastopol where they're grown. There is a long history of Gravensteins in the West County area, and though many farmers have removed these wonderful old trees to put in more profitable wine grapes, there are those stalwart farmers who refuse to let the Gravenstein apple disappear into the history books.
There are now fewer than 800 acres of Gravenstein orchards in the county. But all is not lost – yet. There are efforts underway to preserve what little acreage is left and efforts to plant new acreage. The Gravenstein Apple Fair in early August reminds visitors and locals alike that this heirloom apple deserves to be preserved.
And the Slow Food USA Gravenstein Apple Presidia is working with various organizations and farmers to revive interest in the apple. Visit the growers of Gravenstein apples in West County in the years to come. Let’s hope next year when you drive down the Gravenstein Highway there will still be many rows of these wonderful old apple trees.