Friday, October 23, 2009

Apple fanatics

I probably looked like an idiot up there in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in a converted barn last weekend, carefully loading handfuls of apples into separate bags and tucking labels into each bag.

But for once I wanted to get home and not just simply have a jumbled mix of the fruits to root through. And unfortunately, I am not an apple expert. Can't tell most of the heirloom varieties apart by sight.

It's fun to be a foodie. Some folks are generalists, like me, jacks of all trades and masters of none. Others, often mocked, are exquisite specialists, who can sip a drop of wine and tell you what vineyard it came from and what hints of leather, oak and grass it yields up to their palate.

My favorite apple this week has been the Staymans -- crisp, juicy and tart. I am discovering that I much prefer that type of flavor to the mealiness of some other varieties.

In fact, I was puzzled to find a review online for the Grimes heirloom variety, my lunchtime selection for today, which called Grimes a spicy, rich, crisp and sweet delicacy. I feel quite inclined to disagree. It tasted like a ho-hum, so-called Red Delicious disguised with a yellow skin.

It is said that Thomas Jefferson was never without an apple. His favorite, the Esopus Spitzenberg, is almost impossible to find these days, and I was disappointed that the orchard we visited last weekend, just a few miles from Monticello, didn't carry it.


Chase March said...

I love apples too. I like buying locally grown ones so I usually end up with MacIntosh. I really like Crispin too.

Eastcoastdweller said...

A dear friend gave me two MacIntosh seedlings about ten years ago. They produced lots of tart, tasty apples this year, in spite of the Virginia summer heat.