On the Local Calendar: Better Apple Noting

October 16, 2009 at 8:41 am

Rob Gardner

If you shop weekly at a farmer’s market (and if you need to find a market to shop, use the Local Beet’s Market Locator), you will probably see many apples to select.  At the Oak Park Market, where I shop almost weekly, between Nichols and Skibbes, I would say weekly I have more than 30 apples to go through.  Making the decisions that much easier, Nichols has been offering their apples for only $1.50/lb.  Granted this is still double what a Michigan apple would cost at say, Caputo’s.  Still, does Caputo’s give me a range of old apples.  I like old apples.

At least in theory.  I look at all the notes Nichols puts on the apples, and I look for apples noted for being old.  They sell no apple older than the Cox Orange Pippen, which dates back, they note, to the 1600′s.  I find the Commander York and the Roxbury and the Northwest Greening and a few others who were not developed by the University of Minnesota in the Reagan era.  I like ‘em old.  I bring the apples home, and the Local Family starts tasting.  Ever taste an apple that tastes like celery.  Well one of the older apples did.  Another tastes especially like apple juice, which is not really a great thing in an eating apple.  Tasting old apples makes you soon realize why they were mixing Jon and Gold, why scientists worked hard to patent the Honeycrisp and Zestar!!.  A lot of old apples seem rather deserving of dying out.  Still, can I tell you which ones?

I have resolved to take better apple notes about 18 times since I began reporting on farmer’s markets.  I bet if you look at my first market reports on Chowhound.com, you would find me promising to take better apple notes.  I’m fully capable of writing down the apples we buy but never seem capable of keeping them apart once we get home; really once they enter their bag.  Some apples need no good notes.  The Roxbury Russets are the russeted ones.  Cox Orange Pippens are highly distinguishable from their orange-ness.  Not only that, COPs are one safe old apple.  It requires no noting.  COPs do not taste like celery.  Which one tasted like celery.  The Fameuse?  Northern Spy?  Yorkie?  I do not know which apples I will buy this week.  I will take better notes.  In case one of the old apples tastes like celery.

My Local Calender says take better notes.  What else does it say?

The season of harvest dinners continues.  This one at the Lill Street Art Center.  Saturday.  The Logan Square Harvest dinner is a week from Monday, October 26, but you should get your tickets this Sunday at the market.

Know about Serosun Farm organic community west of Chicago?  Me neither, but I ended up on their mailing list.  Neat looking stuff, and they are having a harvest festival on Saturday.

Sunday, come join me and some artsy types for a little Maxwell Street Market tour.

Help 86 hunger.  A series of local restaurants are hosting up coming dinners to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Seventh Generation Ahead Annual Dinner is November 7, at the Union League Club.  Seventh Generation Ahead promote local food and other green living issues.  Please show your support (and tell them I sent you) by coming to this party.

MikeG found time on his calender to can, can you?

Mutton family dinner at Mado, October 25.

On October 26, Chicago Rarities Orchard Project (CROP), dedicated to preserving and promoting rare fruit orchards in the Chicago area, has a fundraiser at Birchwood Kitchen.  See the CROP website for details.

Anything else to note?