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What We Want: New York Apples

Buffalo Spree's 2014 U-Pick Apple Guide, a recipe, and more



One of the many apple varieties available at LynOaken Farm

Christa Glennie Seychew

This feature includes a story about New York State's adept apple abilities, a recipe for roast pork with apples, a glossary of NY's ten most popular apples, and Buffalo Spree's 2014 U-Pick Apple Guide, which appears in full below, but is also available as a downloadable PDF.

 

 

WHAT WE WANT: Apples

 

An abundance of myths and legends surround the common apple. Across the globe, stories of the apple are interwoven with death and angst, sorrow and love, rebirth and faith. These tales have enriched mankind’s cultural language for thousands of years; arguably, there may be no other food on Earth both so vilified and celebrated.

For most Americans, Adam and Eve may be the first apple allegory that comes to mind, followed by the story of Snow White, the folktales surrounding the great Johnny Appleseed, or even Sir Isaac Newton’s encounter with gravity. But the most fascinating bit of apple folklore may belong to the Greeks. Their mythology includes the creation of the first apple tree by Gaia, the mother goddess of Earth and the universe, who gave the tree as a gift to Hera upon her betrothal to Zeus.

The tree, which bore golden fruit, was put under the charge of Ladon, a dragon with one hundred heads, and the Hesperides nymphs, a trio of minor goddesses who cared for the tree in Hera’s lush garden. You may recognize some of this tale if you are familiar with Hercules and his twelve labors, one of which required him to steal the immortality-giving apples out from under the snout of the ferocious Ladon. But if we set aside all Greek god versus winged, fire-breathing creature battles, the golden apples of Gaia are also said to be entirely responsible for the colors we see at sunset, as they cast their radiant glow across the sky from the western garden of Hesperides.

The sky over the orchards of Western New York is no less rapturous—at sunset or by day. As the second largest producer of apples in the country, New York State has an important place in the world apple trade, with yields reaching nearly thirty million bushels. Hundreds of varieties are available statewide; in fact, New York’s seven hundred growers raise more types of apples than any other state in the US. Ten varieties remain most popular; you can find them listed below our u-pick guide.

Apple varieties that go mainstream do so for numerous reasons—flavor, uniformity, general hardiness, appearance—and while these apples are all good (and good for you), some of the best apples don’t fit enough of the commercial apple world’s criteria to ever make it to your local supermarket. Many of these apple types—too delicate to remain bruise-free through shipping, too odd looking to appeal to most customers, or too short-lived to go into cold storage—are still utterly delicious and can tempt you with their often outrageous appearance and complex flavor profiles.

The frequently debated term heirloom most often applies to any fruit or vegetable that is approximately fifty or more years old and has not been altered in any way, making it unique and genetically distinct from many of the commercial crop varieties typically selected for use by industrial agriculture. Many types of heirloom apples are nearly impossible to buy—as farmers and consumers have decided they prefer the predictability of apple types more suitable for storing and shipping. Generations of Americans have grown up seemingly unaware that there are over 7,500 kinds of apples. Incidentally, this theory can be applied to most any fruit or vegetable—there are over 25,000 types of tomatoes, over 40,000 kinds of beans, and more than 3,000 varieties of pears, yet we often see only a handful of any of these in our local grocery.

In 1905, a book entitled The Apples of New York carefully documented hundreds of apple cultivars. Today a good number of Western New York farmers raise heirloom varieties of all kinds of produce—look for or ask about the distinction when you’re shopping at your local farmers market.

In Buffalo Spree’s U-Pick Apple Guide below, you’ll find a good number of farms where heirloom varieties are available—look for Macoun, Crispin, and Fuji apples, all old school apples with birth certificates from at least eighty years ago. Winesap and Cortland types, which are also popular in our region, were first documented and cultivated in the 1800s.

Blackman Homestead Farm in Lockport raises Gravenstein and Rhode Island Greenings, among many others, both of which date back to the 1600s. Brant Apple Farm grows Northern Spy, Spartan, and Liberty apples, along with a selection of more common apples types. Hurd Orchard in Holley offers pickers over forty-nine types to choose from, and Peter Baker Farm in Ransomville offers twenty-five.

Last year, LynOaken Farms, a fruit farm in Medina that, having been founded four generations ago, is a bit of an heirloom itself, opened a new u-pick orchard. Made up of over 300 heirloom apple varieties, the five-and-a-half acre orchard acts as an apple museum of sorts. It’s quite an attraction. With apples from all over the world—one variety dating back to the thirteenth century—visitors can find apples as big as a baby’s head and as small as a golf ball. Many of the apples in the orchard wear a chartreuse skin, while others are dressed in vermilion. Some have nearly yellow flesh, and one or two show a lining of dark cerise upon first bite. Smooth and speckled, lumpy and bumpy, tender and delicate, tough and hard—you name it, there’s at least one apple at LynOaken that fits the bill.

Purists may prefer their apples raw, but baked apples, apple pie, applesauce, and apple strudel muffins are all lovely ways to utilize a bumper apple crop. Below, under the U-Pick Apple Guide, you’ll find a favorite recipe by Melissa Roberts (which ran in Gourmet in October 2002) for roast pork tenderloin with apples, which we hope will come in handy after you go on your own apple picking adventure. To make this recipe especially delicious, be sure to source your pork—be it tenderloin or roast—from a local farmer. Gently caramelized onions also add nice depth to the dish, if you’re up to the task.


 

Buffalo Spree's 2014 U-Pick Apple Guide

Please contact each farm for operating hours before making your trip—especially if you are looking for a specific variety. This guide is also available as a PDF.

 

Chautauqua County

 

Chadakoin Farms

10459 Prospect Rd., Forestville; 716-965-2674
Varieties: Eight, including: Cortland, Empire, Fuji, McIntosh, Northern Spy, Pippin, Twenty Ounce

 

Falcone Farms

1707 King Rd., Forestville; 716-965-2503
Varieties: Six or seven, including: Cortland, McIntosh, Macoun, Red Delicious

 

Erie County

 

Stonehill Orchard

2356 Shirley Rd., North Collins; 716-337-2380
Varieties include: Paula Red and Cortland

 

Brant Apple Farm

1355 Route 249, Brant; 716-549-0112
Varieties: Fifteen, including: Crispin, Cortland, Empire, Ida Red, Jonagold, Jonathan, Liberty, McIntosh, Macoun, Northern Spy, Red Delicious, Red Rome, Spartan, Twenty Ounce, Winesap

 

Orleans County

 

Brown’s Berry Patch

14264 Roosevelt Hwy., Waterport; 585-682-5569
Varieties include: Cameo, Cortland, Crispin, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Ginger Gold, Granny Smith, Idared, Jonagold, Macoun, McIntosh, Red Delicious, Twenty Ounce

 

Hurd Orchard

17260 Ridge Rd., Holley; 585-638-8838
Varieties: Forty-nine, including: Cortland, Crispin, Empire, Gala, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Jonamac, Macoun, McIntosh, Twenty Ounce, Red and Golden Delicious, Redmax, Twenty Ounce

 

LynOaken Farms

10609 Ridge Rd., Medina; 585-798-1060
Varieties: Over three hundred, including: Braeburn, Cortland, Crispin, Early Fuji, Empire, Gala, Ginger Gold, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Idared, Jonagold, Jonamac, Lake Fuji, Macoun, McIntosh, Northern Spy, Red and Golden Delicious, Twenty Ounce, plus 200 or more unusual, rare, or heirloom varieties

 

Roberts Farm Market

11170 Maple Ridge Rd., Medina; 716-560-2375 or 585-798-4247
Varieties include: Cortland, Gala, Ginger Gold, Empire, Honeycrisp, Idared, Jonagold, Macoun, McIntosh, Northern Spy, Paula Red, Red and Golden Delicious, RubyFrost, Snapdragon

 

Watt Farms Country Market

3121 Oak Orchard Rd., Albion; 585-589-8000
Varieties include: Cortland, Crispin, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp, Jonamac, Idared, Macoun, McIntosh, Northern Spy, Paula Red, Red Delicious, Rome, Stayman, Spygold

 

Niagara County

 

Becker Farms

3724 Quaker Rd., Gasport; 716-772-221
Varieties: Ten, including: McIntosh, Red and Golden Delicious, Twenty Ounce

 

Donovan Orchards

8503 Lake Rd., Barker; 585-944-8824
Varieties: Brookfield Gala, Cortland, Crispin, Empire, Gala, Honeycrisp, Florina Querina, Jonagold, Liberty, Macoun, McIntosh, Royal Empire, plus organic Gala, organic Enterprise, organic Goldrush, organic NY8474-1

 

Dan Tower Farm

1647 Youngstown Rd., Youngstown; 716-745-3370
Varieties: Forty, including: Gala, Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp, Jonamac

 

Murphy Orchards

2402 McClew Rd., Burt; 716-778-7926
Varieties: Cortland, Empire, Fuji, Gravenstein, Greening, McIntosh, Macoun, Tallman Sweet, Idared, Northern Spy, Red
and Yellow Delicious, Zestar

 

Sanger Farms

852 Lockport Rd., Youngstown; 716-745-7297
Varieties: Fifteen to twenty, including: Empire, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp

 

Smith Orchard Cider Mill

4960 Mapleton Rd., Lockport; 716-625-4316
Varieties: Seven, including: Cortland, Crispin, Empire, Idared, Macintosh, Red and Golden Delicious, Rome

 

Peter Baker Farm

2100 Youngstown-Lockport Rd., Ransomville; 716-791-3440
Varieties: About twenty-five, including: Ginger Gold, McIntosh, Cortland, Fuji, Crispin, Empire, Golden and Red Delicious

 

Blackman Homestead Farm

4472 Thrall Rd., Lockport; 716-434-7116
Varieties: Baldwin, Cortland, Crispin, Empire, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Ida Red, Jonagold, Jonamac, Macintosh, Macoun, Northern Spy, Red Delicious, Rhode Island Greening, Yellow Delicious

 

Genesee County

 

McPherson Orchard

7971 Oatka Trail, LeRoy; 585-768-7094
Varieties: About twenty-five, including: Ginger Gold, McIntosh, Cortland, Fuji, Crispin, Empire, Golden and Red Delicious

 

Roanoke Apple Farms

6370 East Bethany Leroy Rd., Stafford; 585-768-2042
Varieties: Baldwin, Cortland, Crispin, Empire, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Ida Red, Jonagold, Jonamac, Macintosh, Macoun, Northern Spy, Red Delicious, Rhode Island Greening, Yellow Delicious

NY's Favorite Apples - a glossary

We’ve listed New York State’s 10 most popular apples, but make no mistake, hundreds of apple varieties are grown here, and many of them are available in Western New York. We’ve noted the months each variety is available in supermarkets below, but want readers to know that most of New York’s apples are harvested between August and late October. Modern cold storage methods are employed to keep crisp apples on supermarket shelves through the remainder of the year.

 

 


 

Recipe: Roast Pork with Apples

2x  3/4-pound pork tenderloins
1    tablespoon vegetable oil
2    teaspoons unsalted butter
1    pound apples*, peeled, cored, and each cut into 16 wedges
1    cup low-sodium chicken broth
²⁄³   cup unfiltered apple cider
½   teaspoon arrowroot
1    tablespoon water
2    teaspoons cider vinegar
½   teaspoon salt
¼   teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Pat tenderloins dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown tenderloins on all sides, turning with tongs, about 5 minutes total. (If the handle of your skillet is not ovenproof, wrap handle in a triple layer of foil, shiny side out.) Transfer skillet to upper third of oven and roast until a thermometer inserted diagonally into center of meat registers 155°F, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 15 minutes before slicing.
While meat is standing, heat butter in same skillet (handle will be hot) over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add apple wedges and sauté, turning occasionally, until tender and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer apples to a plate, then add chicken broth and cider to skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat and meanwhile whisk together arrowroot and water in a small bowl. Whisk arrowroot mixture into sauce and boil until thickened and reduced to about 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, measured salt and pepper, and any juices that have accumulated on platter.
Cut meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve topped with apples and sauce.
*Local Braeburn, Rome, or other tart, firm apples would work well with this recipe.

 


 

 

Christa Glennie Seychew is senior editor and food editor for Buffalo Spree.

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