Out on a Limb Apple CSA Newsletter
Wednesday, October 27th
A Call for Recipes!
If you have a great recipe you would like to share, please let us know so we can include it in the next delivery's newsletter, which will be the last. Also, if you have found a recipe that is particularly well-suited for an apple we've offered, we'd love to hear about it. Since many of these varieties are not widely cultivated, knowing which apple goes well with what dish comes only from familiarizing ourselves with the different qualities of apples and experimenting as much as we can. This is about exploring the possibilities and utilizing our collective knowledge.
This week's apples:
Possibly an open-pollinated seedling of Westfield Seek-No-Further. H.N. Gillett introduction, Proctorville (then part of Rome township), Lawrence County, Ohio about 1830. Also called simply “Rome”. One of the most famous American apples. In 1816, Joel Gillett found an odd tree in a shipment from Putnam Nursery. He gave it to his son Alanson, saying, “Here's a Democrat. You may have this one.” His son planted the tree on the banks of the Ohio River, where several years later it began to produce. His cousin, Horatio Nelson Gillett took cuttings and started a nursery to promote the apple. Originally known as “Gillett's Seedling,” it was renamed the “Rome Beauty” in 1832 in honor of the township. Until fairly recently, when most people stopped doing much cooking, Rome was one of the standard cooking apples you could find in the grocery store. It was known as “Queen of the Baking Apples” and the “Baker's Buddy”. We recommend it for pies and for baked apples, but not as a dessert fruit. It is dense and as labor intensive as chewing gum. It develops its flavor with cooking. It also keeps very well. Grown conventionally at Sandy River Orchard.
ME 7-492 (McIntosh x Golden Delicious) Maine Agricultural Experiment Station. Monmouth, ME, 1966. Bred in 1934 by Russell “Russ” Bailey, renowned plant breeder of the University of Maine. One of two modern crosses we are offering this week. Both Brock and Spencer have the exact same parentage but are very different apples. You can cross the same two varieties a thousand times, and every resulting tree and fruit will be unique. The original thought was to promote Brock for the sauce industry in part due to its small core and Mac heritage. It has instead become a cult dessert apple among many small commercial growers around the country. The apple is named for Henry Brock, the orchardist who was one of the original testers of the variety. It was at Brock's orchard in Alfred, Maine where the variety found its early popularity. Brock is the sole apple introduction from Monmouth. (Wouldn't it be wonderful to revitalize that program? I'd be happy to run it!) It has a full, dynamic flavor and low acidity. “Like a pleasant rainfall.” Grown using IPM (integrated pest management) at the Apple Farm.
Summerland S-5-4 (McIntosh x Golden Delicious) Canada Department of Agriculture Research Station introduction, British Columbia, 1959. Original cross made by R.C. Palmer in 1926. Selected in 1938. This is the other Mac x Golden Delicious cross we are offering this week. We recommend it as a dessert fruit. Among the favorites of the CSA crew this fall. Although not well known, it is occasionally grown commercially and is almost always a hit. Every so often I receive unsolicited notes, letters, or emails from people who love it. In one such note, grower Phil Norris of East Blue Hill wrote that Spencer has “all the sprightliness of Golden Delicious combined with the incomparable sweet-tart ambrosia of a perfectly ripe Mac.” Grown conventionally at Sandy River Orchard.
David Flory farm. Adamsboro, Case County, Indiana, about 1876. Introduced by Greening Brothers Nursery in Monroe, Michigan in 1890. One of the better known old-time apples in Maine, probably because of its bright “banana” yellow color, its intriguing name and its beautiful red blush. Old timers around central Maine called it “the Banana Apple” or “Fall Banana”. Pleasantly firm, juicy and refreshing. Some people detect a hint of banana in the aroma or taste. We recommend it as a dessert and sauce apple. Does not have the requisite tartness for pies. Keeps until early winter. Grown using IPM (integrated pest management) at the Apple Farm.
...Or “Blushing Granny” as it's called locally. Thought to be an open-pollinated seedling of “French Crab” or “Crow's Egg” that originated at Marie Ann “Granny” Smith's orchard in Ryde, Australia (near Sydney) about 1860. This may not look exactly like the Granny Smith you've purchased in the grocery stores over the years. Hopefully, it will not only look different, it will also taste a lot better. The CSA crew thinks they are less stiff and tart and more friendly than store-bought Grannies. These were grown at the Apple Farm in Fairfield. Steve and Marilyn Meyerhans purchased the trees on a hunch many years ago from a grower in the pacific northwest. It turns out that the trees are hardy enough to survive Maine winters but require such a long season that they often do not ripen sufficiently. This year was an exception, and Steve was extremely pleased with the crop when I visited with him a few days ago. He convinced us to offer them in the CSA. Recommended for eating as a dessert fruit, as well as for cooking. Will keep all winter if you have storage capacity. Grown using IPM (integrated pest management) at the Apple Farm.
The Cider Party
Every October, when the skies are cloudy all day and the temperatures hover in the mid-to-high 40s and snow or cold rain looms in the near distance, we celebrate autumn with our annual cider party. We set up a picnic table in the yard, light a small camp fire, crank up the grill, and eat and chat and press cider for the afternoon. We invite neighbors and friends, who stay for an hour or until our only light is the fire. Everyone leaves with a gallon or two of cider. This year we decided to extend the invitation to our CSA members, and we were pleased that several came. We quickly lost track of the number of varieties we pressed and never did count the total number of gallons we generated, but we estimate that 25 varieties were pressed, which made about 25 gallons. The day lived up to all expectations: it was cold and raw, and the rain held off until the last guests departed at about dark. A great deal of conversation was had, a lot of delicious food was eaten, and it appeared as though everyone had a very good time. It was a wonderful chance to put faces and names together, and to bond in person over our shared love of apples. Many thanks to those of you who made the trip up to Palermo, and for those of you who could not attend, there is always next year!
This week's recipes:
Apple Muffins, adapted from “The Joy of Cooking.” We thought that the addition of crystallized ginger, though not called for, would give these muffins a pleasant “oomph”. The Romes suit the recipe perfectly. One CSA member recommends using cardamom in place of cinnamon in apple recipes to transform the flavor into something more sophisticated and complex.
1 ½ cups of all purpose flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp baking soda ½ tsp salt 2 large eggs, beaten ¾ cup sugar 1 ½ cups grated apple 5 Tbsp butter ½ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup (or more) crystallized ginger
Directions: Sift the dry ingredients together and then set aside. Whisk eggs and sugar together. Stir in apples and let sit for 10 minutes so that the apples release their juices. Stir in the melted butter and nuts. Fold into dry ingredients. Divide batter among 12 greased or lined muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 14 to 16 minutes, until a testing stick comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes before removing them from the pans, as they are very tender.
Apple and Butternut Squash Soup, via “Apples, a Country Garden Cookbook,” by Christopher Idone. Winter squash is a staple food during autumn and winter. With the storage capabilities of onions, squashes, and Granny Smiths, you can make this soup in the most frigid months of the year to kick back those winter blues. We often substitute yogurt for cream and use scraps (onion and garlic skins, celery leaves, even apple peels!) to make our own vegetable stock.
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 large onions, chopped
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 large butternut squash (approx. 8 cups), peeled,
seeded, and chopped
3 Granny Smith or other firm, tart apples, peeled, cored, and diced
salt and pepper
½ cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or fresh cilantro
In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add the curry and chili powders and cook for another 5 minutes. Add half the stock and bring to a boil. Transfer the mixture to a soup kettle, add the squash and apples, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the squash is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Strain the soup and reserve the liquid. Pulse the pulp in a food processor until pureed. Return the puree, reserved liquid, cream, and remaining stock to a kettle and bring to a simmer. Serve in bowls sprinkled with chopped parsley or cilantro.
If you have any recipes or tips you'd like to share, please comment on our blog at http://outonalimbcsa.wordpress.com/
“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.”
Out on a Limb CSA
167 Turner Mill Pond Rd.
Palermo, ME 04354