It’s great fun.
As the days get shorter, one of the major rewards of fall is tart, crisp, freshly picked apples, and I have been munching my way through many varieties. It’s a thrill that so many heirloom apples are coming back into the marketplace.
James, the 7th generation New Jersey farmer at Tree-Licious orchards, who shows up at my local farmers market every Sunday, cannot contain his enthusiasm for his 70+ varieties of heirloom apples. And I, having tasted his russets, winesaps, and spitzenbergs have come to share his enthusiasm. Each week I look forward to buying and tasting what he has and each week the selection changes.
Can you imagine the pleasure of tasting one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apples?
Last night I attended a local apple, cheese, and cider tasting at Jimmy’s 43 in the East Village. The tasting was expertly run by Diana Pittet. Eric seems to know as much about apples as James does and his mission is to spread the word on heirloom varieties, especially the most prized Newtown Pippin, first grown in Queens (yes, Queens) and later in Virginia where is was re-named the Albemarle Pippin.
Baard, founder of Free Apple Trees! gave us four varieties of apple to try, including Northern Spy, Margil, Jonathan, and of course the Newtown Pippin. We had a good time matching apples and cheese.
Four types of apple cider, ranging from sweet and fruity to mild and yeasty, were offered by Crispin Cider. An outrageously delicious Raisin-Haters Apple Chili Chutney was provided by Sweet Deliverance Chutney Co. The superb cheeses came from Saxelby Cheesemongers in the Essex Street market.
Altho I loved the silken washed-rind raw cow and goat cheese made by Twig Farm in Vermont, My favorite was the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. A slice of that dipped into the Apple Chutney and washed down with a little cider and I was in apple heaven.
Long live Johnny Appleseed.