getting the apple close to the tree

As summer eases into a beautiful Indian summer and Indian summer eases into fall, apples are showing up at both Mt. Lebanon farmers markets in great abundance.

The variety of types of apples available in this region is mind-boggling. Frank Zitibrosky, a vendor at Mt. Lebanon Lions Farmers Markets on Wednesdays, grows scores of different kinds at his Paul’s Orchard in Washington County. This week, he says has Red and Golden Delicious, Rubinette, Fuji, Autumn Crisp, Honey Crisp, Gala, Jonagold, Mutsu, Smokehouse, Sno Sweet, McIntosh, Cortland and Northern Spy. That’s not all of them, and they’re not done coming.

Her Bold Farm had this special offer on its farthest-from-perfect apples last week at the Mt. Lebanon Lions Farmers Market. One little girl asked if she could have an apple even though she doesn't own a horse, but rather, a pony.
Her Bold Farm had this special offer on its farthest-from-perfect apples last week at the Mt. Lebanon Lions Farmers Market. One little girl asked if she could have an apple even though she doesn’t own a horse, but rather, a pony.

“I don’t bring all varieties to the market since I don’t have room for every one of them,” he says. “Next week we should have the Nittany apples. Within a few weeks, I will have the Braeburn and Cameo apples, as well.

That market’s Sand Hill Berries grows more than 100 different kinds, including many old-fashioned heirloom varieties.

Apples don’t get much more old-fashioned than the ones grown at Herbold Farm near Cadiz, Ohio. Because the farm is organic, its apples are perhaps not the prettiest. But that doesn’t matter when you’re peeling and cooking with them.

Holly Herbold shares this recipe for homemade applesauce, which is an easy way to have some fun with the bounty of the season.

ARDELE’S APPLESAUCE

2 1/2 pounds apples, preferably Early Blush, Northern Spy or Russets

2 tablespoons raw honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract, optional

1 to 2 teaspoons butter, optional

Wash, quarter, cut and core apples. Place in a saucepan and barely cover with water. Simmer until tender. Blenderize ’em. Add honey, cinnamon and ginger to taste.

If served hot, add butter. If served cold, add extract.

— Her Bold Farm

Read more of Bob’s blog at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: pgplate.com/forks.

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