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Apples in East Bay

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I have been looking for really fresh apples in Oakland and Berkeley lately w/out success. Berkeley Bowl seems to have fallen down on the job. They used to have heirloom apples but haven't seen them this year. Rockridge Produce (in Mkt. Hall) has some apples, but they don't seem like anything much.

Where are the Arkansas Blacks???? The best apples on earth?

I can't get to the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Mkt. or to any of the weekday afternoon farmers' markets in Berkeley.

Haven't seen any good apples on 9th Street in Oakland Friday Farmers' Mkt. How about the Saturday Grand Lake F.Mkt?

What about the Sunday Jack London Mkt? There used to be a guy with lots of apples there, but I haven't gone for more than a year.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    Pius Avocado III

    The apple man from Watsonville (blanking on the farm's name) just made his first appearance of the season at the JLS Farmer's Market Sunday. Apples, apple cider, Grav apple sauce, winter squash...autumn is nearly here.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Pius Avocado III

      This is probably not the kind of input you were looking for, but also consider planting a tree. Much of the East Bay has great apple-growing conditions. I've got a golden delicious that produces fantastics sweet, crisp fruit, and my neighbors have had similar results with Fuji.

      1. re: Mr. Eli

        Yes! Thank you! No apples are fresher or more delicious than your own. Why have some boring shrub in the yard when you can have a dwarf apple (or peach or lemon or nectarine for that matter) that blossoms in the spring, is lush and green in the summer, produces delicious nourishment in the fall, and looks beautiful when it is bare in the winter.

        1. re: Napkin

          If I buy the tree, will you buy me a yard to plant it in?

        2. re: Mr. Eli

          My Golden Delicious are tasty but full of worm holes. Not THAT easy to grow.

          1. re: Glencora

            My mother's W Berkeley tree has been bearing delicious fruit for as long as I have been alive and, other than a little pruning, are uncared for. I think they are some Red Delicious variety. They are mostly red streaked over green, medium to med-large, juicy, crisp, very fresh tasting, almost winey, and barely sweet.

            1. re: chocolatetartguy

              Phooey. I didn't used to have worms, but they've been working their evil way down the block from tree to tree. I'm in West Berkeley too, so I hope your mother's tree remains untouched.

              1. re: Glencora

                Some of her apples have a worm or two, but this year the apples were very large and many wormless. This is the 1st year in a few that I've been able to eat apples due to dental problems. The apples are so juicy and crisp this year. I saw a similar looking Red Delicious variety in some bins outside of Monterrey Market 2 weeks ago.

      2. I was last at the Bowl on Thursday -- they had new crop unpolished golden Delicious from some mountain area. These are a wonderful apple with a very short season -- they ripen quickly after picking so they don't keep like Arkansas Blacks and the other later apples.

        But it's way too soon for the other apples. Even with this "global warming" year, you'll have to wait for some weeks I think.

        1. I've been getting some great red delicious from berkeley bowl - they're from watsonville, pesticide free and organic - if you like flavor and crisp, they're really good.

          1. Any recent sightings in these parts? LA Times had an article about heirloom apples this week. I don't recall seeing any at the Berkeley markets. Yes, Where are the Arkansas Blacks????

            8 Replies
            1. re: chocolatetartguy

              Arkansas Black is a late apple. Pink Pearls aren't finished yet.

              1. re: wally

                Where are you getting your pink pearls from? I looked and didn't see them at the FP last weekend--I usually get them from the man with the apple stand at the Marin Civic Center market, but have only been able to make it up there once recently. Would love to pick some more up in/near the city before they're done--they may be my favorite apple ever...

                1. re: Emily Hope

                  Last year the Alameda Natural Grocery had Arkansas Blacks. Funny, the first time I tried one, I didn't like it. But I think that unlike most apples (or most fruit), Arkansas Blacks are actually better when they're a bit aged: they get a little softer (but still not mealy) and juicier. When they're really fresh, they're just hard and dry.

                  My favorite apple vendor is a guy I've only seen at the Jack London Square farmers' market -- I think his farm is in the Santa Cruz mountains, so he might be at more south bay markets. Anyway, he has lots of great apple varieties, including my favorite Macouns.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    I bought Pink Pearls at Berkeley Bowl this afternoon.
                    They also had some other heirloom apples, one of which was labeled "good eating" -- a significant sign at the Bowl.
                    They also had Pink Lady apples. For the uninitiated, the Pink Pearls have pink flesh, the Pink Ladys do not.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Okay, the guy at JLS is from Watsonville, Hillview Farms. He grows over 100 varieties of apples. Today he had over a dozen, including Pink Pearls. He said he should still have Pink Pearls next week, if you're still looking. He said he also does the Cupertino and Danville markets.

                    2. re: Emily Hope

                      Bernie had some fantastic Pink Pearls at the Thurs and Sat Berk markets, but they're gone for the year. They are my favorite apple as well.

                      1. re: Morton the Mousse

                        Who is Bernie and where does he set up? I must have walked right by him while concentrating on other fruit in season like doughnut peaches and boysenberries.

                      2. re: Emily Hope

                        FP the apple farm. I think that Devoto also had them last week. They were at Monterey Market on Tuesday.

                  2. Monterey Market usually has the biggest selection.

                    Berkeley Bowl and the Saturday Berkeley farmers market will have a better selection in a few weeks.

                    1. While buying some Frog Hollow Warren Pears, I saw that El Cerrito Naturals had a lot of the heirloom apples they were selling last year. The only one that pops to mind is Ashmead's Kernal.

                      Last year they had the best selection of heirloom apples in any market. It is still early in the year, but they had about a dozen varieties.

                      The Saturday El Cerrito Farmers market has Rainbow Orchards, though I'm wildly crazy about the cider, the apples don't do a lot for me.

                      1. Black Arkansas are my favorite too! They were breeded to be a cellaring apple, apparently, and last forever in the crisper. So sweet! Anyway, the Apple Lady at the Civic Center farmer's market on Sunday usually has some later in the season. I'm talking late October or November here. But she is more known at this time of year for Early MacIntosh. (However I just went last weekend and the apples were crap -- last year's crop, for sure.) If you find any now, please post!

                        1. Carl Rosato at Woodleaf Farm has a great selection of apples now. He's at all three farmer's markets in Berkeley. He has a large variety of heirloom apples, including Cox Orange Pippin, Empire and Cameo to name a few.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Aaron

                            Is Carl still doing the FP market? I didn't see him there this week...And can anyone recommend a good pick yer own place?

                            1. re: linz

                              I thought everyone knew the best selection of organic and unusual Apples is always found at Star Market on Claremont on the Oakland /Berkeley border??

                              1. re: linz

                                Yes, Carl is usually at the Saturday FP market.

                            2. The Bay Fair Farmers Market on Saturday has an apple stand -- Buksa Farms apples. Only Pink Ladys two Saturdays ago, but those tiny little ladies were so crunchy and sweet.

                              BTW, hope to see you at the Chowhound picnic in a couple of weeks. A great chance to showcase the lovely produce from around the Bay Area.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Cecelia

                                The FruitGuys are delivering Black Arkansas apples in their boxes from Bierwagen Farm. They're so crisp and delicious!

                              2. I've been asking about the Arkansas Black apples at the Berkeley Bowl for a few weeks now (I need them for work) and I've been told that they should have them within a month or so.
                                On another note, I have been getting excellent, sweet, crisp apples from Woodleaf Farm at the Thursday Berkeley Farmer's Market and at least three different vendors at the Saturday market (sorry I can't recall exactly which vendors they were).

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: chemchef

                                  Arkansas Blacks are now at the Berkeley Bowl. None spotted at the Berkeley Farmer's Market, however.

                                  1. re: chemchef

                                    They are however at Ferry Plaza--two dealers.

                                    At least two.

                                2. I got Arkansas Blacks at the Bowl on Friday. It is a late apple, always has been.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Curmudgeon

                                    The Berkeley Bowl had a box of arkansas blacks this afternoon. Unfortunately, the box also contained some braeburns, a bunch of macintoshes, and a peach. It was a bit difficult to tell what was what (except for the peach), the apples were heavily waxed, and the guy who was working the department couldn't give a flying fark.

                                    Not sure I can recommend a trip there for apples.

                                    1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                      I actually got Arkansas Blacks at Berkeley Bowl a couple of days ago. They had 2 batches - one organic and one not. I got both and they're really great. I didn't see that they were mixed in with other apples, but maybe there were MORE than 2 batches of A.B.'s at the Bowl. One guy I asked didn't have a clue and the other knew all about them.

                                      It's sometimes hard to tell them apart from other apples - espec. when they have lots of green. But that blackish-red color is hard to miss.

                                      God I love them!!!

                                      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                        I'm guessing the mixed in apples were left there by customers who had decided to buy the Arkansas Blacks instead of the other apples they'd already chosen and just dumped them there. I've never had any problems with the Bowl employees mixing up fruit.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          Likewise. And, I'm there all the time.

                                    2. Just got some perfect Arkansas Black apples at Andronico's on Telegraph a couple days ago.