Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Carlson Orchards’

McIntosh apples, Red Apple Farm, Phillipston, Massachusetts (Russell Steven Powell photo)

McIntosh apples, Red Apple Farm, Phillipston, Massachusetts (Russell Steven Powell photo)

BEAUTIFUL WEATHER, A HOLIDAY WEEKEND, and an early crop make this a perfect time for apple picking. McIntosh, the region’s most popular apple (accounting for about two-thirds of the New England crop), are ready for picking at many orchards, more than a week ahead of schedule.

Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp, and Wealthy are some of the other varieties now being harvested at orchards along Massachusetts’ Route 2 corridor, among them Sholan Farms in Leominster, Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, and Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain. Visit New England apples to find the orchard nearest you, and call ahead to see what they are picking.

Al Rose of Red Apple Farm (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Al Rose of Red Apple Farm (Russell Steven Powell photo)

RED APPLE FARM celebrated its 100th anniversary yesterday, August 30. A large crowd gathered beneath the orchard’s century-old McIntosh tree to recognize the Rose family, including Commissioner of Agriculture Greg Watson, State Senator Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) and State Representative Ann Gobi (D-Spencer). Al and Nancy Rose, the third-generation owners of Red Apple Farm, served up apple cake, turnovers, cider donuts, and fresh cider to their guests, accompanied by Al’s father Bill and the next generation: children Aaron, John, Madeline, and Thomas.

Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture Greg Watson recognizes Red Apple Farm (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture Greg Watson recognizes Red Apple Farm (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Red Apple Farm has evolved from a strictly wholesale orchard to a thriving retail operation, and like a number of New England orchards (among them Carlson Orchards in Harvard, Massachusetts, and Green Mountain Orchards in Putney, Vermont), Red Apple is going green. A 15-kilowatt windmill towers over the orchard; installed last year, Al Rose expects it to pay for itself within two years. Much of the funding for the wind generator came from the USDA’s Rural Development Program, the Massachusetts Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

A crowd gathers before Red Apple Farm's century-old McIntosh tree. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

A crowd gathers before Red Apple Farm’s century-old McIntosh tree. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

***

America's Apple

America’s Apple

DID YOU KNOW that you can’t grow a McIntosh from a McIntosh seed (or a Honeycrisp from a Honeycrisp seed)? Or that most orchards practice integrated pest management (IPM), a series of low-impact measures to manage pests and disease? Or that John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, never wore the tin-pot hat that appears in many popular depictions of him?

These are just some of the apple facts you can learn in America’s Apple, a new book by Russell Steven Powell. The 250-page book features chapters on food and drink, horticulture, heirlooms, and food safety, including favorite apple recipes and photographs of apples, orchards, and growers from across the country by Bar Lois Weeks. Included is a photographic index of 120 apple varieties grown in the United States. For more information, visit America’s Apple.

Read Full Post »

Crabapple-sized Wickson apples ready for pressing at Poverty Lane Orchards in Lebanon, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Crabapple-sized Wickson apples ready for pressing at Poverty Lane Orchards in Lebanon, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)

APPLE CIDER is as varied and versatile as the fruit from which it is pressed. It can be frozen or fermented, guzzled fresh or used in cooking, pasteurized (or not), made from almost any apple variety (usually a blend), in almost any condition (dings and dents welcome). Cider was America’s drink from Colonial days until well into mid-19th century, when it fell victim to several factors, including the migration to cities and the rise in popularity of beer.

But cider is experiencing a revival, from large commercial producers to small orchards and cider mills that make unique blends, to people who are experimenting with small batches made in their homes. There are a number of ciders, from the sweet, unfermented drink we commonly know now, to several types (and strengths) of “hard,” or alcoholic, cider, which can be as strong as wine. Distilled further, cider can be made into applejack or apple brandy.

Many orchards press their own cider, and there are a growing number of cider mills and passionate artisan cider makers that are reviving the art of finding and pressing rare apples that are virtually inedible, but lend a richness and complexity to their cider.

You could write a book about cider. In fact, several people have. Two that we recommend are Cider, Hard and Sweet, by Ben Watson, and Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider, by Lew Nichols and Annie Proulx, author of the acclaimed novel Shipping News. Both give detailed instruction on cider-making; Watson’s book includes a global history of cider, fun facts, and descriptions of varieties favored by seasoned makers.

We are often asked the difference between apple juice and cider. Both drinks are made from apples, but apple juice is clear, invariably sweet, and keeps longer than cider. The primary reason is filtration; all of the pulp found in cider is strained out of the juice, giving it a lighter color and extending its shelf life.

While making true hard cider requires some special equipment and a number of steps, fermenting cider into something fizzy and slightly alcoholic couldn’t be easier. Just take a jug of cider and leave it alone, and once past the expiration date the fermentation begins.

Be careful, though; we heard last week of a woman who carefully cleaned her refrigerator and then, against her better judgment, put back in an old jug of cider that her husband was saving. The cider had begun to ferment, and soon the resulting gases built up so much pressure on the plastic cap that there was an explosion.

We are happy to report that her husband at least cleaned up after his own mess.

About freezing cider: it is a perfectly good way to store cider for the long-term if you don’t want it to get fizzy in the fridge. Just remember to remove a little liquid first (at least one-quarter cup for a gallon jug), or it will pop the cap as it expands.

* * *

AN EARLY, HEAVY SNOW blankets much of New England. It’s hard to think that just one month ago we were cleaning our sticky apple booth in the Massachusetts House at the Big E (Eastern States Exposition), closing it up for another year. The occasional cider spill is inevitable, but this year it was coupled with smoothie spills. More on that in a minute.

First, think back to our post, Oct. 6, 2011, on Dings and Dents. We gave that a lot of thought at the fair because the apples with small blemishes didn’t seem to sell as fast. We got to putting these slightly imperfect apples into the door of the fridge, saving them for smoothies.

With the purchase of a commercial-grade blender, a few Macs from the Ding & Dent Department, fresh Carlson cider, spices, and (optional) ice cream, Big E booth manager Bar Lois Weeks produced a recipe for our very own Apple Pie Smoothie that we’d like to share with you, just in time for Franklin County CiderDays this weekend.

It’s quick and easy, inexpensive, healthy, and delicious!

Apple Pie Smoothie (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Apple Pie Smoothie (Bar Lois Weeks)

Big E Apple Pie Smoothie

Add to your blender:

1 New England apple, like McIntosh or Cortland, unpeeled, cored and chopped

1-1/4 c fresh cider

1 scoop vanilla ice cream (optional)

1/2 t apple pie spice mix (or 1/4 t cinnamon, a pinch of ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom)

Set blender on high until the apple peel is in small flecks. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Enjoy your apple-a-day the easy way!

* * *

Don’t miss this weekend’s 17th Annual Franklin County CiderDays. Some of the events are free, others require fees and reservations, but the two-day event offers a wide range of cider-related activities and workshops in the towns of Colrain, Deerfield, Greenfield, and Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.  A schedule can be downloaded from the CiderDays website.

* * *

Here is a video about how sweet cider is made by one of New England’s largest commercial producers, Carlson Orchards in Harvard, Massachusetts:

Read Full Post »

New England apple blossoms. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

New England apple blossoms. (Russell Steven Powell photo)

NEW ENGLAND’S APPLE ORCHARDS are about to blossom. After last year’s early bloom — two or three weeks in some places, the result of a mid-April heat wave — this spring will be more typical, with full bloom expected most places over the next seven to ten days.

That’s good news for the region’s apple growers, many of whom lost some or all of their 2010 crop due to frost damage last May, when temperatures turned seasonably cool. Apple blossoms can withstand a light frost, down to 28 or 29 degrees, but a hard frost will kill them, and that’s exactly what happened in parts of New England last spring.

Even in a normal year like this one, growers won’t be able to relax for the next few weeks, until the danger of frost has passed. Traditionally, that date is as late as Memorial Day weekend in northern New England.

But the critical factor now that will impact the size and quality of the crop is pollination, without which fruit does not form. Honeybees are on their way to New England orchards at this moment (if they haven’t already arrived), from as far away as Florida and California. Hives are placed in the orchard late at night, when the bees are sluggish, at intervals of about one per acre. The imported bees stay just long enough to pollinate the apple crop, and then they are on their way to some other farm.

(Incidentally, Colony Collapse Disorder, the mysterious disease that has wiped out honeybee populations in some parts of the country, thankfully has not yet posed a major problem in New England, either with native bees or imported ones.)

The itinerant hives supplement the local population of honeybees, bumblebees, and other wild bees to ensure good pollination. Even with plentiful bees, though, the pollination period requires good weather. Without the sun, the bees stay close to their hive rather than visit the blossoms.

This happened across the region about a decade ago, when cool, cloudy, or rainy weather persisted for the entire bloom period, with only a smattering of sunshine. The resulting crop was the smallest in years, and it put a number of small orchards, already operating on the thinnest of margins at the time, over the edge.

That should not be the case this year, as the ten-day forecast throughout the region shows plenty of sunshine, and the outlook for the apple industry is healthier than it has been for some time. Visit an orchard this weekend to see the bloom in its full splendor.

* * *

THIS APPLE LEMON CAKE is fast gaining stature as a birthday cake in my circles. Adapted from Olwen Woodier’s classic 1984 Apple Cookbook, this version is rich in flavor and elegant enough to serve at a special occasion.

Apple Lemon Cake

Preheat oven to 350o. Grease and flour a 9×13-inch pan or a 10-inch tube pan.

Grate the zest of 1 lemon, reserving 1 t for the glaze. Juice the lemon, reserving 3 T for the glaze.

In large bowl, mix together:

1 c butter, melted

½ c canola oil

3 eggs

2 c sugar

3 t lemon zest

1½ c white flour

1½ c whole wheat flour

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1 c pecans, chopped

3 New England apples, chopped

all but 3 T juice of lemon

Pour batter in pan. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Prick top of cake with fork tines.

Spread glaze over the warm cake:

1 c confectioners sugar

2 T butter, softened

3 T reserved juice of lemon

1 t lemon zest

1 T honey

* * *

TO LEARN MORE about pollination, view this four-minute video program featuring Frank Carlson of Carlson Orchards in Harvard, Massachusetts.

Read Full Post »

Hot mulled cider simmers on the stove. (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Hot mulled cider simmers on the stove. (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

ONE OF THE VIRTUES of apple cider — and there are many — is its versatility. Like the fruit from which it is made, cider can have a place at virtually every meal, at every course, at any time of year.

Start with the unalloyed pleasure of cider as a drink, bursting with the flavors of apples, thick in complexity, in shades of translucent, coppery brown. It quenches thirst over ice in the summer, and is ideal spiced and heated in the dead of winter, or hardened to a gentle fizz that can produce an equally gentle buzz.

Cider requires no added sugars or other ingredients — just apples, squeezed for their thick, sweet juice. You can substitute cider for water in any apple recipe where liquid is called for, from applesauce to apple crisp. Cider is also used in a number of soup recipes. You can even freeze it for later use — just remove half a cup from a gallon to allow for expansion before you do it.

Most cider sold commercially these days has been pasteurized, and there are people who insist they can tell the difference between fresh-pressed cider and cider that has been heated. I’m not one of them. We served Carlson Orchards’ cider at the Big E in the fall, a blend of Cortland, Gala, McIntosh, and Eastern Red Delicious that is flash-heated for 14 seconds, and it was delicious, winning over even the few skeptics (to see how Carlson’s makes its cider, see the video below). Other varieties are blended into cider over the course of the year, and Frank Carlson even includes apples of a single variety like McIntosh from several orchards to account for subtle variations in flavor from one climate and soil to another.

Cider once was the New England drink, and was key to John Chapman’s (aka Johnny Appleseed) success spreading apples westward through Ohio and Indiana. For the early European settlers, cider was the main reason for growing apples, and nearly everyone had a small orchard. Cider was cheap, sweet (before the arrival of cane sugar), intoxicating, and it stored well. In some cases, it was even a safer choice than water.

Everyone drank it, even children. It was only at the end of the 19th century that the temperance movement took cider down a notch in popularity, and the apple industry reinvented itself as a fruit for fresh eating. In recent years apple cider has made a comeback in all its forms: sweet and fresh, year-round, without preservatives; or hard, as the Colonists knew it.

You can buy ready-made hard cider from a number of sources now, but it’s easy to make on your own, too. Roger Yepsen includes simple, straightforward instructions for hard cider in his beautiful book Apples (W.W. Norton). At the end of the first stage, “It’s still a family drink,” he writes. But “allowed to gestate a little longer, the cider enters a second, more vigorous fermentation. The jug begins to hiss and buzz angrily, and cider and foam dribble over the top.”

He goes on to describe options for finishing off the drink, or taking it to the next stage — hard liquor, as applejack.

Now that the holidays and cold weather have arrived, it’s the perfect time for hot mulled cider.

Hot Mulled Cider

2 qt cider

¼ c maple syrup or brown sugar

2 t cinnamon

½ t allspice

6 whole cloves

¼ t nutmeg

1 cinnamon stick

Slowly heat to a simmer. Allow flavors to blend for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.

Read Full Post »

ALTHOUGH APPLES HAVE BEEN PICKED for the past few weeks, the official kickoff of the 2010 New England Fresh Apple Harvest will be celebrated this Friday, September 10, at several orchards and the region’s largest packing house.

Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture Scott Soares and members of his senior staff, together with Russell Powell, executive director of the New England Apple Association, will be among the people visiting these apple orchards and apple processing facilities:

  • 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., J. P. Sullivan and Company, packing house, 50 Barnum Road, Ayer
  • 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Carlson Orchards, with cider-making, 115 Oak Hill Road, Harvard
  • 1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., Red Apple Farm, 455 Highland Avenue, Phillipston

Friday is expected to be a beautiful day in New England’s orchards, with an early taste of fall: sunny, with temperatures in the 60s.

Saturday also should be ideal for picking apples, with sun and temperatures in the 70s, and while there may be some unsettled weather in parts of the region Sunday, either weekend day should be fine for getting out to visit your favorite orchard or farmstand.

Beginning 5 p.m. Friday and through the weekend, the New England Apple Association and Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) will sample apples and hand out its 2010 brochure/poster, New England Apples, at a booth at the Sterling Fair.

The fair will be open Friday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Bring a sweater, learn about New England’s apple varieties and take home a brochure. It has photographs and descriptions of 15 favorite varieties on one side, and storage tips, health information, a usage chart and recipes on the other side.

If you are back from the orchard, Saturday’s fair hours are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.sterlingfair.org.

Powell and Mary Jordan, the DAR’s director of agricultural development, will give a presentation about several New England apple varieties Sunday morning at 11, including McIntosh, Royal Cortland, Gala, Honeycrisp, Rambo and Snow.

Gala apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Gala apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Gala is a sweet, crunchy and juicy apple, with red-orange skin and yellow stripes. Slightly conical in shape, it is well suited for snacking, salads and baking.

Galas were developed in New Zealand and introduced in the United States in 1934. Its genetic heritage comprises Cox’s Orange Pippin and both Red and Golden Delicious.

Honeycrisp is a relatively new star on the New England scene, esteemed for its exceptional juiciness and crunch. It has a bright red skin, often with patches of pale green. The inner flesh is cream-colored. The Honeycrisp is a sweet apple but retains a slightly tart flavor. It is excellent for salads or for eating as a snack.

Honeycrisp apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Honeycrisp apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Honeycrisp was produced from a cross of Keepsake and an unnamed seedling. The original seedling was planted in 1961 at the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center. They were introduced commercially in 1991.

Snow (also known as Fameuse) is red with pink highlights. It gets its name from its snow-white flesh, which has occasional crimson stains. A crisp, juicy apple with a slight strawberry flavor, the Snow hails from Canada around 1730.

Snow apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Snow apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Snows are one of the oldest and most desirable dessert apples, a parent of the aromatic McIntosh. They are delicious fresh or in cooking, and are a good cider apple.

To learn more about New England’s apple varieties, visit www.newenglandapples.org and click on “Apple varieties.”

Read Full Post »

Ripe apples on the tree at Green Mountain Orchards, Putney, Vermont (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Ripe apples on the tree at Green Mountain Orchards, Putney, Vermont (Russell Steven Powell photo)

BARRING A LAST-MINUTE SURPRISE from Hurricane Earl, this should be a delicious holiday weekend for picking apples across New England. The forecast is for sunny weather Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with daytime temperatures in the 70s throughout most of the region.

Depending on your location, you may get to pick the season’s first McIntosh apples. They are running a week to 10 days early in most places, so you can get a head start on New England’s favorite apple, just in time for school lunches. If the Macs aren’t ready for picking at your favorite orchard, there should be plenty of other early varieties to choose from. You can call ahead to find out what’s being picked.

Overall, it is shaping up to be a good New England apple crop. Total volume region-wide is down about 17 percent, the result primarily of frost damage in late spring, particularly in the northern states. But you won’t notice the shortage this fall, if at all. Early reports indicate that New England’s apples are especially flavorful this year and that they are in abundance and of good color and size.

A day in the orchard is a powerful experience. The lush fruit hanging from the tree, the sweet aroma of apples in the air, and the gentle background sounds of honeybees and insects combine to flood the senses. You’ll feel calmer for the experience, and bring home some of the freshest, healthiest, tastiest food you can buy, with the satisfaction of having picked it yourself.

But don’t take our word for it. Discover the pleasure of apple-picking on your own.

*

THE 2010 NEW ENGLAND FRESH APPLE HARVEST will be celebrated Friday, September 10, in a daylong event around the region.

In Massachusetts, Commissioner of Agriculture Scott Soares, and Executive Director of New England Apple Association, Russell Powell, will visit  these apple orchards and apple processing facilities:

10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. J. P. Sullivan, packing house, Ayer

11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Carlson Orchards, with cider-making, Harvard

:15 p.m. to :45 p.m. Red Apple Farm, Phillipston

Beginning Friday evening through the weekend, the New England Apple Association and Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources will sample apples and give away recipes, brochures, and other educational materials at a booth at the Sterling Fair.

The fair’s hours are Friday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Commissioner Soares and Powell will give a presentation on New England apple varieties Sunday at 11 a.m.

Details about events in the other New England states to follow!

Read Full Post »

Clockwise, L to R: Gravenstein, Sansa, Duchess of Oldenburg apples (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Clockwise, L to R: Gravenstein, Sansa, Duchess of Oldenburg apples (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

DUCHESS OF OLDENBURG was one of four pioneers among Russian apples in America, along with Alexander, Tetofsky and Red Astrachan. All four were imported by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society around 1835. In European nurseries, the Oldenburg was propagated under the names Charlamowsky and Borowitsky. An extremely hardy variety, Oldenburgs “kept up the hope of prairie orchardists in times of great discouragement,” according to The Apples of New York, Volume II, by S. A. Beach (J. B. Lyon Co., 1905).

The Duchess of Oldenburg is a stunning apple, with beautiful, yellow-and-red striped skin. Its flesh is yellowish, firm, crisp and juicy. A highly aromatic apple, it has excellent culinary qualities.

A relative of the Duchess of Oldenburg is another heirloom, Gravenstein. Beach’s classic apple encyclopedia calls the Gravenstein “perhaps unexcelled by any variety of its season” for culinary purposes. Its origin is unclear, he writes, although “it is undoubtedly of similar origin with the Red Astrachan and Duchess of Oldenburg.” Gravensteins, like the Oldenburg, were imported to the United States by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in the late 1820s.

A newer apple variety is also ready for picking where it is grown in New England orchards. Sansa was developed in New Zealand in 1969 and introduced in the United States in 1986. A cross between Gala and Akane, it is a red, medium large apple. Sansas are sweet apples, with  a deep pink blush on a yellow skin. Its firm flesh is light green in color, and tender and  juicy.

Try this moist and low-fat loaf cake that uses applesauce as a substitute for the oil (or butter or shortening). Old-fashioned oats are best to give this cake an even chewier texture and flavor. If available, try using white whole wheat flour in place of the denser whole wheat variety.

Mix early season varieties like Duchess of Oldenburg, Gravenstein, Sansa and PaulaRed to make your own applesauce. Simply quarter the apples and cook in a saucepan with cider or water until soft, and strain through a food mill. Use several apple varieties to give your sauce and cake a distinctive flavor.

Oatmeal Applesauce Cake

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Pour 1-1/4 c hot water over 1 c oats. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, cream:

2 eggs
1/2 c brown sugar
1 c sugar or sucralose
1/2 c applesauce
2 t vanilla

Combine and add:

1-1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg

Stir in the oat mixture and 1 c raisins.

Pour into a greased and floured 8” x 8” square pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.

2010 New England Apple Harvest Kickoff September 10

The 2010 New England fresh apple harvest will be celebrated Friday, September 10, in a daylong event around the region.

In Massachusetts, Commissioner of Agriculture Scott Soares, Russell Powell, executive director of the New England Apple Association, will visit these apple orchards and apple processing facilities:

10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. J. P. Sullivan, packing house, Ayer

11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Carlson Orchards, with cider-making, Harvard

1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Red Apple Farm, Phillipston

Beginning that evening through the weekend, the New England Apple Association and Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources will sample apples and give away recipes, brochures and other educational materials at a booth at the Sterling Fair.

The fair’s hours are Friday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Commissioner Soares and Powell will give a presentation on New England apple varieties Sunday at 11 a.m.

Details about events in the other New England states to follow!

Read Full Post »

Clockwise from left: Gravenstein, Sansa, Duchess of Oldenburg apples (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Clockwise from left: Gravenstein, Sansa, Duchess of Oldenburg apples (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

DUCHESS OF OLDENBURG was one of four pioneers among Russian apples in America, along with Alexander, Tetofsky and Red Astrachan. All four were imported by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society around 1835. In European nurseries, the Oldenburg was propagated under the names Charlamowsky and Borowitsky. An extremely hardy variety, Oldenburgs “kept up the hope of prairie orchardists in times of great discouragement,” according to The Apples of New York, Volume II, by S. A. Beach (J. B. Lyon Co., 1905).

The Duchess of Oldenburg is a stunning apple, with beautiful, yellow-and-red striped skin. Its flesh is yellowish, firm, crisp and juicy. A highly aromatic apple, it has excellent culinary qualities.

A relative of the Duchess of Oldenburg is another heirloom, Gravenstein. Beach’s classic apple encyclopedia calls the Gravenstein “perhaps unexcelled by any variety of its season” for culinary purposes. Its origin is unclear, he writes, although “it is undoubtedly of similar origin with the Red Astrachan and Duchess of Oldenburg.” Gravensteins, like the Oldenburg, were imported to the United States by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in the late 1820s.

A newer apple variety is also ready for picking where it is grown in New England orchards. Sansa was developed in New Zealand in 1969 and introduced in the United States in 1986. A cross between Gala and Akane, it is a red, medium large apple. Sansas are sweet apples, with  a deep pink blush on a yellow skin. Its firm flesh is light green in color, and tender and  juicy.

Try this moist and low-fat loaf cake that uses applesauce as a substitute for the oil (or butter or shortening). Old-fashioned oats are best to give this cake an even chewier texture and flavor. If available, try using white whole wheat flour in place of the denser whole wheat variety.

Mix early season varieties like Duchess of Oldenburg, Gravenstein, Sansa and PaulaRed to make your own applesauce. Simply quarter the apples and cook in a saucepan with cider or water until soft, and strain through a food mill. Use several apple varieties to give your sauce and cake a distinctive flavor.

Oatmeal Applesauce Cake

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Pour -/4 c hot water over c oats. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, cream:

eggs
1/2 c brown sugar
c sugar or sucralose
1/2 c applesauce
t vanilla

Combine and add:

1-1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg

Stir in the oat mixture and 1 c raisins.

Pour into a greased and floured 8” x 8” square pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.

2010 New England Apple Harvest Kickoff September 10

The 2010 New England fresh apple harvest will be celebrated Friday, September 10, in a daylong event around the region.

In Massachusetts, Commissioner of Agriculture Scott Soares, Russell Powell, executive director of the New England Apple Association, will visit  these apple orchards and apple processing facilities:

10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. J. P. Sullivan, packing house, Ayer

11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Carlson Orchards, with cider-making, Harvard

1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Red Apple Farm, Phillipston

Beginning that evening through the weekend, the New England Apple Association and Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources will sample apples and give away recipes, brochures and other educational materials at a booth at the Sterling Fair.

The fair’s hours are Friday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Commissioner Soares and Powell will give a presentation on New England apple varieties Sunday at 11 a.m.

Details about events in the other New England states to follow!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts