LAKE MACBRIDE— Johnny Appleseed’s birthday is on Thursday, and there has been a lot of apple action. The economy of apples is on the move in late September and October.
The windfall of apples in our yard created three groups. I picked the best for out of hand eating and making apple butter and apple crisp. The seconds went into a big cart and down the street, where a neighbor pressed them into four gallons of cider, with the apple pumice planned for livestock. The rest went into large plastic tubs to be traded for eggs. If a person is going to have apple trees, something should be done with the fruit.
Growers no long plant apples from seeds. The use of selective breeding, resulting in cultivars, or branches grafted to root stock has become the norm. Heirloom apples like Red Gravenstein, Wealthy, Cortland and Saint Edmund’s Pippin have given way to Honeycrisp, Jersey Mac and Jonafree. When I chat with modern apple connoisseurs, they eschew my humble Red Delicious apples, discovered in Iowa. More’s the pity, as naturally ripened and off the tree, they are some of the most flavorful apples to be found.
As summer turns to fall, now is the time to harvest the crop and use it. Participating in the apple culture is one of the benefits of living on a planet hospitable to our species. We should take advantage of it.