Buy Locally–A Few Thoughts About Apples

I love apples!

Courtesy of New York Apple Association
© New York Apple Association

September is traditionally the month that we drive to the orchards with our bags, boxes and baskets and fill them to the top with the early apples that are ripening.  A second trip to pick late apples on crisp October days when the geese are flying south usually gives us enough varieties for cooking, freezing, saucing and eating.

This year’s crop of New York State apples is very small—most of the U-Pick places near here are not opening.  The unseasonably warm weather in early spring, followed by cold weather at the time the apple trees were blossoming and setting fruit resulted in a very poor crop.

New York State ranks number two in the production of apples in the United States—an average of 25 million bushels of apples annually.  According to the New York Apple Association, apples are the second most valuable fruit in the country (oranges are first).

Gala apples

At the Farmers’ Markets here this year, the first local apples I’ve found are Galas and McIntosh.  Galas are very crisp and sweet; they have a somewhat yellow flesh with a thin skin, so they are perfect for snacking.


McIntosh apples tend to be a bit tart and extremely juicy.  These are the apples you can polish on your sleeve, bite into and have juice running right down your arm! A McIntosh apple has very white flesh, so they

McIntosh apples

are great for salads.



My favorite all-round apple is the Cortland. These apples are wonderful for making pies, apple crisp, salads—partly because they don’t turn brown as quickly as other apples.  Cortlands

Cortland apple Courtesy of New York Apple Association
© New York Apple Association

are juicy and sweet with just a hint of tartness.  They were developed right in New York State in 1898 at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, on Seneca Lake.



One of the best pie apples is the Northern Spy, also developed in New York State, near another Finger Lake: Canandaigua.  These very tart apples are best right at the end of the season—pies made with fresh Northern Spies are perfect for Thanksgiving.  Other New York State apples are Macoun, Acey Mac and JonaMac, Jonagold and of course, Empire, named for the Empire State!




Read more about apples from New York State here—you may even find a place that will let you pick your own!

What’s your favorite apple?

Shop locally, buy from the farmer or vendor you know!


This post is shared here: Frugally Sustainable

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