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Heirloom apples

p
poot Oct 11, 2010 08:47 PM

In a recent column, Rowley Leigh wrote of the English apples of yesteryear that they possessed nutty and raisiny, or maybe spicy and raisiny flavors. He expressed nothing but scorn for Pink Ladies. So which market or orchard should I head for to find these raisiny apples? The apples I bought from the Ferry Building apple merchants near Gandhi might as well be Pink Ladies.

  1. b
    bgbc Oct 11, 2010 09:11 PM

    It's not the Bay Area, but you could take a drive up to the Philo Apple Farm. It's off Hwy 128 in Mendocino Co. They have a huge range of heritage apples and, if I recall correctly, not all were as cloying as Pink Lady & co.

    http://www.philoapplefarm.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: bgbc
      w
      wally Oct 13, 2010 02:04 PM

      The Philo Apple Farm has a stand at Ferry Plaza that is near Gandhi, but there are other apple sellers near there. They will let you taste everything they bring to market which does vary from week to week. Raisin flavors are usually associated with oxidation and age but who knows?

      1. re: wally
        Ruth Lafler Oct 13, 2010 02:08 PM

        Good point. The apples the author was rhapsodizing about may have been from storage (some apple varieties are better fresh of the tree and some, like (in my experience) Arkansas Black, need to age a little).

    2. Ruth Lafler Oct 12, 2010 12:19 AM

      There's a vendor at the Jack London Square farmer's market who has some really old varieties of apples -- Hillview Farms from Watsonville. I think they're also at the Danville and the San Jose (Vallco) markets.

      http://www.pcfma.com/producers_detail...

      -----
      Jack London Square
      70 Washington St # 207, Oakland, CA

      8 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler
        p
        poot Oct 13, 2010 12:56 PM

        Thanks, BGBC and Ruth Lafler. Have you noticed raisiny flavors?

        1. re: poot
          b
          bgbc Oct 13, 2010 01:53 PM

          It was too long ago to remember anything that specific -- sorry. But please post back when you find what you're looking for!

          1. re: poot
            Scott M Oct 13, 2010 01:56 PM

            I purchased heirloom apples at Whole Foods about a month ago. I don't recall the local farm from where they came. I bought both the Fuji and Honeycrisp. I found both varieties to be smaller and more tart than the current versions you find in the store. I did not notice any raisin quality at all.

            1. re: Scott M
              Robert Lauriston Oct 13, 2010 02:03 PM

              Fuji and Honeycrisp are modern hybrids.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                Scott M Oct 13, 2010 02:13 PM

                Both varieties were being sold as heirloom apples and packed in small brown paper sacks, the Fuji were marked as Japan 1969.

                1. re: Scott M
                  Robert Lauriston Oct 13, 2010 02:50 PM

                  I guess there's no law against labeling Fuji or Honeycrisp "heirloom," but the term becomes meaningless if you apply it to such modern varieties. Honeycrisp is still under patent protection in some countries.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    Ruth Lafler Oct 13, 2010 04:04 PM

                    According to wikipedia, there's no real definition of "heirloom" but Fuji and Honeycrisp apples would not fall under any of the possible criteria.

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heirloom...

            2. re: poot
              Ruth Lafler Oct 13, 2010 02:03 PM

              Not that I can recall. But he had 115 varieties of apples and I'm sure I haven't tried all of them. Did the article mention and specific varieties?

          2. Robert Lauriston Oct 13, 2010 02:02 PM

            Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Market, sometimes.

            Philo Apple Farm sells at the Ferry Plaza market on Saturdays (or is it every other Saturday?)

            -----
            Berkeley Bowl
            2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

            1. jillyju Oct 13, 2010 03:28 PM

              This past weekend I was in Sonoma County. We visited Walker Ranch and purchased some delicious apples, including about 4-5 varieties that are considered heirloom: Northern Spy, Baldwin, Rhode Island Greening, and Bellflower are the ones I recall. You can taste whatever they have available before you purchase them.

              Walker Apples
              10955 Upp Road
              Sebastopol, CA 95472
              Sonoma County
              Phone: (707) 823-4310
              Open: Aug 1 - November 15; Daily 9-5.

              -----
              Walker Apples
              10955 Upp Rd, Graton, CA

              6 Replies
              1. re: jillyju
                p
                poot Oct 21, 2010 04:27 PM

                I decided on Walker's Apples and will be going on Saturday. In his article, Leigh mentioned the following with approval: Cox’s , Russets, Howgate Wonder, Charles Ross, Lord Lambourne, and James Grieve.

                1. re: poot
                  Robert Lauriston Oct 21, 2010 04:55 PM

                  Cox's Orange Pippin is one of the best cooking apples.

                  The local Sierra Beauty is a great substitute. http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/...

                  1. re: poot
                    512window Oct 21, 2010 05:37 PM

                    If these are English apple varieties, you really shouldn't expect to find them fresh off the tree in the San Francisco Bay Area. Because we have a different climate, different apple varieties flourish here. Go to Walker's and see what they have and what you like. You could also check out Gizdich Farms outside of Watsonville. Great apples, great fruit pies.

                    1. re: 512window
                      Ruth Lafler Oct 21, 2010 08:15 PM

                      I've bought Cox's and Russets from Hillside. I believe they had both of them last week, in fact.

                    2. re: poot
                      w
                      wally Oct 21, 2010 06:25 PM

                      I bought Cox's about a month ago from the Apple Farm. I much prefer Sierra Beauty.

                      1. re: poot
                        wolfe Oct 22, 2010 05:00 PM

                        Wear boots, the parking area is pretty muddy. I bought several varieties today and I don't believe any of them are those you mention. I left them somewhere for a later tasting so I have to rely on my faulty memory. I got Winesaps, Greening, Winter Banana, Bellflower, Baldwin, Rome Beauty and Pippin. There were several others Jonathan, Jongold, Delicious, Fuji, you know the common stuff. No Arkansas Black or Pink lady yet. The turn to Upp road from Gravenstein Hwy has the Dutton-Goldfield tasting room and just east from that corner, about 2/10 miles, is Merry Edwards.

                        http://www.duttongoldfield.com/
                        http://www.merryedwards.com/

                    3. b
                      bgbc Dec 30, 2010 07:11 AM

                      FWIW, I was eating Hauer Pippen Apples from my Frog Hollow aka Happy Child CSA box this week and found them deliciously raisiny. I couldn't place the unusual taste at first -- they taste almost spiced -- and then I remembered this thread. According to the CSA newsletter they're from Bruce Rider & Sons (Watsonville, CA). Not sure if FH sells them retail but you always ask.

                      -----
                      Frog Hollow Farm
                      11435 Brentwood, Bl Brentwood, CA

                      Frog Hollow Farm
                      1 Ferry Bldg # 46, San Francisco, CA

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bgbc
                        p
                        petrelline Dec 30, 2010 05:37 PM

                        Hauer Pippins are a local (Santa Cruz) heirloom. A lot of the Watsonville apple growers have them, but you usually have to ask because they are not popular. Prevedelli (who are at most of the big South Bay farmer's markets) has them now.

                      2. c
                        chowtogo Jan 1, 2011 03:57 PM

                        If you want some products made of TRULY local apples contact Nana Maes Organics.They're out of Sebastopol and also sell at the Marin Country Mart Farmers Market in Larkspur.

                        Look on their web site www.nanamaes.com for details about the apples they grow. I understand that even supposedly local gravensteins can come from Oregon and such, but Nana Maes is truly local.

                        -----
                        Nana Mae's
                        708 Gravenstein Hwy North 174, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: chowtogo
                          w
                          wally Jan 1, 2011 04:23 PM

                          Watsonville is pretty local.

                        2. Robert Lauriston Nov 12, 2012 10:30 AM

                          One of the vendors at the Berkeley Thursday market had Sierra Beauty apples this week.

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