State Fair is one of the most modern apples that we offer in our CSA. It was introduced by the University of Minnesota in 1979. Its parents are Mantet and Oriole, and it is the parent of another early season apple, Zestar.
The medium-sized fruit is a show-stopper with brilliant red and orange stripes over a bright yellow base. The flesh is creamy, juicy and somewhat firmer than most early season apples. Its sweet, aromatic flesh makes for good fresh eating. It cooks up fairly quickly into a sauce that is coarse and a bit tart with some hints of lemon.
Originally we supposed that the apple got its name because it ripens about the time of the Minnesota State Fair. But when we sliced it up, sprinkled some sugar on it, wrapped it in pastry and popped it in the oven, we changed our minds. We think they named this apple because it is a blue ribbon winner in the State Fair pie contest. We loved it as a pie - the slices held their shape and cooked to just the right amount of al dente. No need to peel off the skin when you cook with it; it dissolves nicely.