This fall, seek out her­itage ap­ples

The Review - - NEWS - By Emily Ryan For 21st Cen­tury Me­dia

Ever eaten an an­tique? Ap­ple, that is. Whether you call them an­tique, her­itage or heir­loom, old-timers like Stay­man still got it.

“In Oc­to­ber when the phone rings, it’s usu­ally peo­ple call­ing to ask if the Stay­mans are ready yet,” said Lewis Barnard of Barnard’s Or­chard in Ken­nett Square. “The phone rings more for Stay­man than Red De­li­cious th­ese days.”

Dat­ing back to the nine­teenth cen­tury, “it’s a crisp ap­ple with a snap to it” and “tart fall taste,” he de­scribed. “You don’t see it in the gro­cery stores very much at all. You did 30 years ago.”

While most su­per­mar­kets now fa­vor newer types, lo­cal or­chards pre­serve the past.

“To me, an heir­loom is a cur­rently ne­glected older va­ri­ety,” said Ike Ker­schner of North Star Or­chard in Cochranville. “They have some prob­lem that makes them not suitable for com­mer­cial grow­ers.”

“The rea­son we grow them is there are fla­vors in them that are not in the mod­ern va­ri­eties,” he added. “I’m kind of just a to­tal ap­ple geek. The point of North Star’s ex­is­tence was to sat­isfy my de­sire for good ap­ples.”

Of his 300 ap­ple va­ri­eties, about half are her­itage with quirky names like Bloody Plough­man, Cor­nish Gil­liflower and Rose­mary Rus­set.

“The old­est va­ri­ety we prob­a­bly have is Calville Blanc, an an­cient French va­ri­ety,” Ker­schner said. “It has a very dis­tinc­tive shape that’s seen in Re­nais­sance paint­ings.”

An­other place to take a bite out of his­tory: Hopewell Fur­nace in Elver­son.

“The ear­li­est men­tion of an ap­ple or­chard at Hopewell Fur­nace dates back to April 2, 1788 in The Penn­syl­va­nia Gazette,” noted park ranger Frank Heb­bleth­waite. The real es­tate ad boasted “an ex­cel­lent young bear­ing or­chard of about 250 ap­ple trees of the best fruit.”

The Na­tional Park Ser­vice re­planted it in 1942 and 1960. To­day you’ll find roughly 35 va­ri­eties, in­clud­ing Ash­mead’s Ker­nel, Kerry Ir­ish Pip­pin and North­ern Spy.

“We’re just try­ing to keep the or­chard as ac­cu­rate as pos­si­ble,” he ex­plained. “The one this year that I liked the most is Tomp­kins King.”

Taste for your­self since “ev­ery­one’s en­ti­tled to one free ap­ple.” Af­ter that, pick your own for $1 a pound.

Back at Barnard’s Or­chard, vis­i­tors fill the park­ing lot in good weather, tak­ing home Grimes Golden, Smoke­house and, of course, Stay­man.

“It’s one of my fa­vorite ap­ples,” said Barnard, a fourth-gen­er­a­tion farmer. “It’s neat to pick up a dif­fer­ent ap­ple each time and see if there’s some­thing in there you might ap­pre­ci­ate.”

Edie’s Ap­ple Pie IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

1 cup flour

1⁄4 pound but­ter (soft­ened) Pinch of salt (less than 1⁄4 tea­spoon)

2 ta­ble­spoons + 1 1⁄2 tea­spoons ice wa­ter

2 1⁄2 pounds ap­ples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced 1⁄2 cup su­gar

1 to 2 tea­spoons cin­na­mon 1⁄2 tea­spoon le­mon juice

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Pre­heat oven to 450 de­grees. Grease a 9-inch pie pan. Cut but­ter into flour and salt. Add ice wa­ter. (Draw from a mea­sur­ing cup filled with ice cubes and wa­ter.) Form dough into a ball. Di­vide in two. Roll one for the bot­tom crust and one for the top. Place bot­tom crust in pan. Com­bine ap­ples, su­gar and cin­na­mon to taste. Sprin­kle with le­mon juice. Pour into pan. Top with but­ter bits. Cover with crust. Bake at 450 de­grees for 15 min­utes. Re­duce heat to 350 de­grees. Con­tinue bak­ing for 30 more min­utes. RECIPE COUR­TESY OF EDITH SHEP­ARD

Cran­berry-Ap­ple Crisp IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

1 (12-ounce) pack­age of fresh cran­ber­ries (sort out any bad ones)

5 to 6 large ap­ples, un­peeled, cored and sliced 3⁄4 cup su­gar

2 tea­spoons cin­na­mon

1⁄2 cup flour, di­vided 4 ta­ble­spoons packed brown su­gar

1 1⁄2 cups rolled oats (reg­u­lar or quick)

1 cup chopped wal­nuts 6 ta­ble­spoons melted mar­garine

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Pre­heat oven to 375 de­grees. Com­bine cran­ber­ries, ap­ples, su­gar, cin­na­mon and 2 ta­ble­spoons of the flour. Put into a 9-by-13-inch pan (greased if it’s glass or not a ‘coated’ pan). Mix re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents in the same bowl you used be­fore and then sprin­kle them on top of the ap­ple mix­ture. Bake at 375 de­grees for 40 min or un­til browned. RECIPE COUR­TESY OF NORTH STAR OR­CHARD

Slow-Cooker Ap­ple and Onion Beef Pot Roast IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

3 pounds bone­less beef roast, cut in half

Oil

1 cup wa­ter

1 tea­spoon sea­son­ing salt 1⁄2 tea­spoon soy sauce 1⁄2 tea­spoon Worces­ter­shire sauce

1⁄4 tea­spoon gar­lic pow­der 1 large tart ap­ple, quar­tered 1 large onion, sliced 2 ta­ble­spoons corn­starch 2 ta­ble­spoons wa­ter

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Brown roast on all sides in oil in a skil­let. Trans­fer to slow cooker. Add wa­ter to skil­let to loosen browned bits. Pour over roast.

Sprin­kle with the spices and sauces. Top with ap­ple and onion. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Re­move roast and onion. Dis­card ap­ple. Let stand for 15 min­utes. In the mean­time, to make

gravy: Pour juices from roast into saucepan and sim­mer un­til re­duced to 2 cups. Com­bine corn­starch and wa­ter un­til smooth in small bowl. Stir into beef broth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 min­utes un­til thick­ened. Slice roast and serve with gravy. RECIPE COUR­TESY OF NORTH STAR OR­CHARD

Heir­loom ap­ple tast­ing

Belly up to bar - the Her­itage Ap­ple Tast­ing Bar at North Star Or­chard in Cochranville. Sam­ple 10 va­ri­eties ev­ery Satur­day from 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. through the end of Oc­to­ber. Make notes in your “Ap­ple Pass­port” as fruit ex­perts talk about each one.

The 15-minute tast­ings start ev­ery half hour and cost $5. Af­ter­ward, re­ceive a $5 coupon good for any­thing in the farm store. No reser­va­tions needed. www. north­staror­chard.com

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Lewis Barnard calls Stay­man “a her­itage ap­ple that is still a to­day ap­ple.”

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

A boy car­ries freshly picked ap­ples.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF NORTH STAR OR­CHARD

Ex­pand your hori­zons at North Star Or­chard’s ap­ple tast­ings.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Hopewell Fur­nace pro­duced iron prod­ucts from 1771 to 1883. 2 ta­ble­spoons but­ter, cut into bits

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF HOPEWELL FUR­NACE

Pick your own ap­ples at Hopewell Fur­nace.

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