Friday, November 19, 2010

"Ode to the Apple" *

*The title "Ode to the Apple" derives from Keith Barber's article in this week's Yes!Weekly. Beta Verde is featured and we are very thankful for the publicity! The article can be viewed here online.
Apple season is reaching a close but that has not kept us from indulging in a few of the countless varieties available just in our area. The apples from our tree at Beta Verde were long gone, but just two weeks ago, Century Farm Orchards began their month-long apple tree sale and plenty of apples were still available. Kinnairds Choice has so far topped the list for best apple sauce. With its superb tartness and natural sweetness, the apples required absolutely no additional sugar, lemon, spices once cooked down.

At one time 15,000 apple varieties of all colors, taste and size grew in the United States. Now there are 11 apples commonly seen in supermarkets. Many varieties were lost when their genetics were not preserved through grafting before the tree died or was cut down. Plenty continue to be rediscovered, identified and grafted to expand the market for these "uncommon apples".

Kinnairds Choice was a new apple for us this year and there continue to be more apples available because of passionate individuals and increased awareness. It's because of businesses like Century Farm Orchards in Reidsville, heirloom apple experts like Lee Calhoun who helped with Pinnacle's Horne Creek Living Historical Farm's 200 heirloom apple orchard, and awareness groups like AppleCorps, which is "saving uncommon apples" one apple identification at a time.

Beta Verde is making an effort to learn more about these unique apples through cooking, preserving and eating them one variety at a time. Homemade apple sauce has been a long-standing simple pleasure of ours and one that we look forward to every year. As we expand our repertoire of apple varieties, this tradition can only EXPONENTIALLY become more pleasurable!