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Sep 13, 2004 02:45 AM

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.