Heirloom Apples

Each plate holds a different type of apple! There were at least 3 times as many tables as this!

Each plate holds a different type of apple! There were at least 3 times as many tables as this!

Nothing says “Fall” like the crunch of a fresh apple, the smell of apple butter simmering in the crock pot, or a glass of fresh pressed apple cider. But did you know that the apple flavors and textures we are used to only represent a fraction of the variety to be found? You can taste 200 of them at the 6th Annual Apple Festival in Venersborg, WA this Sunday, October 28th, 2012! (scroll down for details)

I remember growing up with Granny Smiths (which I loved), Red Delicious (which I hated), and Yellow Delicious which I could stand when they weren’t too grainy. Every now and then I’d come across a crab apple tree and chomp on those, too. Over the years, what’s available at the store has increased. I distinctly remember the first time I tasted a Fuji and a Gala – the produce guy sliced into them for me in the store and the tart/sweet crunch and new aromas astounded me.

Kid2 with a sample - he had so much fun!

Kid2 with a sample – he had so much fun!

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan turned me on to the story of the apple. Since apples must be cloned in order to produce the same type of apple, what you get when you grow apples from seed is completely unpredictable leading to amazing variety. The commercial varieties now available have been chosen for taste, storage, transport, and disease resistance. But Michael spoke of dark purple apples, apples with mushy textures, huge apples, tiny apples… I thought I was familiar with the apple, but he was describing fruits I hadn’t ever imagined before.

Lots of places offer apple tasting come Fall, but I was in for a real treat when I discovered the Heirloom Apple Festival at the Venersborg One-Room Schoolhouse in Battle Ground, WA. Jacqueline Freeman of Friendly Haven Rise Farm has an orchard with heirloom apples that have been growing on her land since the early 1900s. She and others bring their apples. You can read about her orchard’s story on her website.

Here's one that's pink on the inside!

Here’s one that’s pink on the inside!

The Home Orchard Society comes along for the fun with scions and knowledge to share. With over 200 apples to sample, this is the largest apple tasting event in Washington and it is not to be missed!

It’s also one of the rare events that centers on food but is safe for gluten-free folks! We had no trouble at all with cross-contamination issues last year. The pie making was all going on outside, separate from the apple tasting.

Apple Fest Details from Jacqueline

  • Taste more than 200 different apples
  • Get your apple trees identified so you know what they are
  • Watch cider pressed the old fashioned way
  • Eat homebaked apple delights (gluten-free), chili and hot cider
  • Enter your name in the raffle for the beautiful handmade quilt.
  • Watch apple pie demos by local pie-making experts and learn their secrets
  • Make an apple pie to bake at home!
  • Self guided tours of the old school all day

Admission is $5, kids under 16 are free. Apple tasting, tree identification, pie making demo and school tours are all included in admission.

We found one named after Kid2!

We found one named after Kid2… and it is good! We’ll have to grow our own 🙂

Held at the historic Venersborg one-room schoolhouse at the corner of 209th St and 242nd Ave in Venersborg, WA ten minutes east of Hockinson opposite the Venersborg General Store. It’s not far from Portland, Oregon, and definitely worth the drive!

Here are a few ways we like to enjoy apples

This post is part of Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Allergy Friendly Friday

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2 comments to Heirloom Apples from Friendly Have Rise Farm

  • Oh I can’t believe it’s been a year since I heard about this and I can’t go again. 😛 Enjoy! Taste some heirlooms for me.

  • Jen

    I am having a love affair with my local apples. I hadn’t eaten them in so long because they a usually loaded with nasties. But i found a great local option and I am loving apples again. So much to do with them. Making lots of creative dishes. Thanks for posting all your great recipes to browse through. 🙂

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