Bramley apples near San Francisco?
I am planning to make apple pie on Sunday, and would love to find a source of Bramley apples near the city. If they are unavailable (as I fear) what do people recommend as an alternative, as tart and firm as possible? (I grew up in Britain with a Bramley tree in the garden, and don't have a good knowledge of local heirloom varieties.)
A local equivalent might be the Granny Smith. Try one and see. I did find a report of a test between the Bramley and Granny Smith, Braeburn and Golden Delicious apples in which the decision was awarded to the Bramley.
I think Pippins are the closest apple I've seen locally. The Billy Bob Orchards stand has good ones in season, but I don't know if they visit any markets in SF. Berkeley Bowl sometimes has good ones.
In chain supermarkets, Pippins have usually been picked too green and don't have the characteristic rough light-brown bloom on the top that indicates they've developed their full flavor. The same goes for local Granny Smiths, only worse--though they are hard and sour.
The Apple Farm stand at Ferry Plaza on Saturdays sometimes has ripe green cooking apples.
Sierra Beauty apples make great pie. They're not a green type, but they stay firmer when cooked.