Empire State Apples

Monday, November 15, 2010

It’s the tail end of apple season. Steve Clarke of Prospect Hill Orchard in Milton, New York, joins us to taste some of the local and antique varietals found in New York State—from the Newtown Pippin to the Black Twig. We'll also speak with Emily Vaughn, biodiversity coordinator with SlowFoodUSA.


Steve Clarke and Emily Vaughn

Comments [21]

jawbone from Parsippany

Suzanne, thank you again. I did come back to see if anyone has info on where to find both real winesaps and the good russets.

Sometimes I'm amazed at how strong my memory is of the great flavor of those russets, and then wonder if it's accurate.. One article I found described the flavor as being nutty, but I have this strong memory of a slight pear accent to the apple flavor.

Nov. 15 2010 04:00 PM
Emily Vaughn from Brooklyn, NY

Just wanted to follow up on a point that we didn't have time to flesh out during the show. I absolutely agree that seed banks play a critical role in agricultural conservation. Even better, though, is having diverse apples actively grown in orchards so that people can enjoy them! Not only are heirloom fruits and vegetables important for food security and overall ecosystem health, but they're also a living link to the past, and if we have the opportunity to access that history in a physical way, rather than maintaining it in a gene bank, so much the better.

Nov. 15 2010 02:40 PM

@ jawbone -- if you return to this thread....

One of the stands at the greenmarket in Tucker Square (near Lincoln Center) on Saturdays has real Winesaps. They're at the end closer to LC (away from B&N) -- could be the one represented on today's show. Before purchasing, I ask if they're real Winesaps -- they know what I'm talking about.

Nov. 15 2010 02:32 PM
jawbone from Parsippany

I just googled "russet apples" and learned that there are many varieties of russets, that actually russeting is a term applied to any apple which has brownish, rougher skin.

Based on looking at the photos, I think the russets I had were golden russets. But...can't know for sure until I see, smell, and taste them.

But probably the russets I got here in NJ were not actually the same russets I got in MA.

I used to get a few windfall apples from a very, very, very old tree, one has tall as many maples! It grew (grows if it's still there) in the garden of a Colonial era house now a museum in Morristown, NJ.

The flavor was fuller, sharper, fuller than so many of today's apples.

The last apple time I was there, the groundskeepers (volunteers, iirc) were doing a good job keeping the apple picked up, alas.

Nov. 15 2010 02:01 PM
jawbone from Parsippany

Ah, Suzanne! Thank you! If I'd read further I would have found my answer!

Russets. So wonderful, from colder climes (in my experience).

Every autumn I swear I'll drive north, but somehow don't make it.

I wish I'd kept some record of the place I bought my first Russets from....

Nov. 15 2010 01:46 PM
jawbone from Parsippany

I found some yellow apples, with brownish areas and rougher skin, that had a delicious taste of pear.

It's been years since I bought them in western MA. When I did remember the name, I found some from a NJ orchard -- and they were not as good, not as crisp.

Does anyone know which variety I'm trying to describe? I think they need really cold winters and they were a later ripening variety. I was told they known for the excelloent keeping. And the bushel I bought kept for me until spring.

I'm also looking for REAL Winesaps. Ah, the scent of the winesaps on a sunny warmish day in an wonderful.

Nov. 15 2010 01:43 PM
michelle from Long Island

Hi I remember cookers-cooking apples in Ireland we use these for baking, cooking etc. They are considered sour, large and usually odd shaped. They are cheaper to buy but people dont seem to use them here and use Granny Smiths for baking instead. If I bake with these it feels like cheating!!!!!!!

Nov. 15 2010 01:40 PM
Tracy from Brooklyn

My favorite apple is the Norhern Spy, an excellent pie apple!!

Nov. 15 2010 01:38 PM
Howard from the Bronx

McCoouns are also tasty. Haven't seen them lately.

Nov. 15 2010 01:38 PM
LL from UWS

Don't forget to mention that in 19th Century the huge variety of apples was due to the fact that they knew which apples were best for a wide range of purposes.....not just eating and cooking, but also drying, for vinegar, etc.

Nov. 15 2010 01:37 PM
lauren from vermont

We have the Bramley's Seedling apple in here Central Vermont. they are grown by the wonderful folks at Zeke's Eco Apples.

Nov. 15 2010 01:36 PM
zazel loven from Chelsesa, in NYC

why is Cornell developing new apple varieties when there are plenty of older ones to be preserved and reintroducing to the apple loving public?

Nov. 15 2010 01:36 PM

Could you have your guests comment on the
availability - well, mostly non - if russets?
They are wonderful.

Nov. 15 2010 01:35 PM
Lynn from Queens

Glad to hear Jonathan apples mentioned, my all time favorite apple, probably because I grew up eating it. I wish it were more widely available, especially here in the city. It is occasionally sold in the green markets, but I've missed it this year.

Nov. 15 2010 01:34 PM
marypnyc from downtown

Empires rule for everything but my very favorite is NY 428. What happened to them?

One of my farmer's market orchard (who left my neighborhood market) used to have them.

Nov. 15 2010 01:33 PM
brenda from warwick,ny

i am fortunate enough to live in the hudson valley, lots of apple orchards. This was not a good season for apples. not crisp. Although this weekend at our farmers market we tried a new variety, new to us, called Pink Lady, wonderfully tart/sweet and very crisp.

Nov. 15 2010 01:33 PM
Rebecca Lustig from Brooklyn

Northern Spys...
My mom who grew up in Michigan came to visit for Thanksgiving a few years ago and seeing the Northern Spys at the Farmer's Market almost brought tears to her eyes... and they do make the best apple pie you will ever taste!

Nov. 15 2010 01:32 PM
Marla from Upstate

We buy apples for flavor *and* texture-- we hate mealy apples. They have to be crisp. That's why I buy Fuji.

Nov. 15 2010 01:31 PM

What do you mean "tail end of the apple season"? The green markets have apples all winter long! My favorite: Winesap -- not Stayman Winesap -- real Winesap which is not easy to find. Empire -- great for applesauce. Red Delicous -- ugh!

Nov. 15 2010 01:31 PM

Leaonard, My two children and I picked some apples from a wild apple tree up the road from our cottage in old forge, ny (adirondacks). my wife made apple pie with these apples and it was by far the best tasting apple pie i've ever good we're wondering whether or not the adirondacks may be the perfect environment for harvesting apples. any thoughts from your guest regarding apples from adironacks mts, ny?

Nov. 15 2010 01:29 PM
Robert Moore

In England the very best kind of cooking apples were called Bramleys. I have never seen these over in the USA. Are they available? . If not what are really good apples for baking?

Nov. 15 2010 01:29 PM

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