I’ll admit it, there’s more to life in the Pacific Northwest than bikes and coffee. We love our apples, too. Most varieties grow really well here, so we’re accustomed to biting into some of the freshest and tastiest apples anywhere. We’re actually a bit persnickity about 'em; some might call us downright snobs. Our buddies up in Washington state produce over half of the apples in the U.S., and in Oregon we don’t do so badly ourselves. With all the great choices and availability, we won’t settle for an apple that’s the least bit mealy or pithy. And please, don’t even bother with apples that don’t zing your taste buds at least a little. Unnecessary, and, yuck.
Unless you’ve got apple trees of your own, you have to figure out how to separate the good apples from the great ones. In this neck of the woods, buying apples at the supermarket is okay if you are in a real hurry. The best way to dig into a fresh, local, blow-your-mind apple is to get out to some of the better produce stands and farm stores. As a matter of fact, today is the perfect day to go. I was just there myself.
Here’s a shout-out to our friends in Minnesota, who came up with my favorite variety of apple yet. Better than Fuji, even better than Braeburn. I was snooping around online and learned (because you really can believe everything you read on the internet, right?) that back in the 60’s some apple experts at the University of Minnesota crossed the Macoun and Honeygold. Twelve years later, voila, the Honeycrisp was born. This apple has a snap when you bite it, followed by a rush of sweet juices, and then...wait for 5 seconds...zap! It finishes with a tangy burst of flavor that gets you right in the gills.
Before today's big game or halloween festivity, take a little ride or drive out to the edge of town. Find a good produce store and treat yourself to a moment of perfection. It’s apple time.