Weekly Feature


Apple-Picking Insight

September 26, 2008
by Sarah Amandolare
Crisp air and crunchy leaves suggest fall has arrived, and with it, an abundance of apples are ready to be picked. We’ve found Web sites to help you plan your apple-picking trip, beginning with finding an orchard, and culminating with delicious apple recipes. You’ll also learn about the history and health benefits of apples, and find harvest festivals close to home.

Orchards and Apple Varieties

The United States is strewn with apple orchards, particularly on the East Coast. All About Apples provides an interactive map of orchards in each state, making it easy to locate a place to pick your favorite varieties. Click “Apple Varieties” for color and flavor descriptions of countless types of apples.

Apple Festivals

Festivities centered around the apple harvest take place across the country in September and October, giving guests ample opportunity to gorge on cider, pies and donuts—all with apple as a main ingredient. The apple-picking Web site, Pick Your Own, has listings of apple festivals in the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia, and gives apple-picking tips to help you select the tastiest fruit.

Rural Bounty has more listings of events and festivals at farms and ranches in North America. Use the search engine to find events by state, city or zip code, and narrow down your choices by date.

Apples for Health

Everyone knows apples are good for you, but recent studies suggest there are even more benefits of eating an apple a day than was previously thought. According to Reader’s Digest, apples, and apple skin in particular, contain an antioxidant called quercetin, which could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. To learn how apples may protect against colon cancer and high blood pressure, consult the Reader’s Digest article from September 2008.

Apple Recipes

After picking your apples and trekking home with overflowing bags of red, yellow and green crunchy goodness, you’ll probably want to bite into one—and then bake something. All Recipes has a comprehensive section of apple dishes, including a recipe of the day; apple cobblers, crisps and crumbles; applesauces; and piecrust tips and recipes, many of which have been submitted by site users, lending a personal touch to each recipe.

If you’d prefer something different than the classic all-American apple pie, consider giving this Saveur recipe for Apple and Cranberry Upside Down Cake a try. The vivid photo evokes the essence of autumn, and could well inspire your next meal.

The History of Apples

Today, apples are prized for being beautiful: the rounder and shinier, the better. But back in Civil War times, apples were mainly used for making cider, and the fruit’s appearance was “less important than how long it would keep without spoiling,” according to an article in Martha Stewart Living. As for the “pick-your-own” phenomenon, its roots are at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm, located 100 miles from Chicago. In the 1960s, when it became too expensive for the farm to hire apple pickers, the Teichman family, which owns the orchard still today, invited people from the city of Chicago to visit the farm and pick from the orchard’s many varieties, including storied classics like George Washington’s Newtown Pippin apple.

Poetic Picking

In 1914, poet Robert Frost wrote “After Apple Picking,” but goes beyond “merely harvesting fruit” to explore the nature of life’s “regrets and mistakes,” and at times overwhelming abundance of options, according to Reading About the World, Volume 2, a University of Washington Department of English textbook.

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