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Vendemmia / News

Guilty Kitchen: Autumn in the Apple Orchard

Autumn is a time of crisp, cool mornings. The sound of leaves crunching under your feet and the smell of wood smoke hanging in the air like the last drops of dew on a spider's web. It's a time of year we tend to overlook those simple things in life, but the transition from hot and lazy summer days to the cooler months of fall are something I take in with gusto every year. I am totally one of "those" people. I relish the fall, the colours, the scarves, the boots, the kids returning to school...oh wait.

Autumn also signifies the end of the harvest season. Of course there are winter vegetables to be had throughout the cooler months, but the last of the summer fruits leave the market during those darker days of September and October. The one fruit that remains right through though, is the ever humble apple. Did you know many apples are in season from August right through to June? July is the only season devoid of the crisp, hand held snack...at least in my (particularly lucky) neck of the woods.

But most of us think of apples, pumpkins and Halloween as soon as those leaves start changing. Pumpkin patches are so popular these days that the crop has taken over a significant portion of many farmer's late summer yields. But what of the less popular, ever unassuming, apple? Did you know that many orchards allow you to pick your own bushels of apples as they ripen on the tree? A fun family event is bundling up the kids, towing along the wagon and reaching up to pick your very own, fresh apples.

Bake up a pie, crumble or tart, press some fresh juice or cider or just eat them fresh out of the fridge (apples soften very quickly at room temperature), just don't miss this fun time of year. If your area doesn't feature the U-Pick variety, just visit your local farmer's market to take in the bounty the season has to offer. There are over 7,500 varieties of apple known in the world, which one is your favourite?