Great Maine Apple Day
Is well named. Hauling yourself out to Unity on the 24th for MOFGA’S annual apple jamboree is a great way to spend a fall day and that’s because Maine has a lot of great apples.
The tasting part is a unique opportunity to check out all sorts of flavors and textures, and of course to sample apples not routinely sold in stores.
do have their spectacular aspects.
The tasting by itself would be more than enough, but there are all manner of other attractions: instructive talks on apple growing, cider making and other obvious tie-ins; a (small) market of apple and cheese sellers, and a chance to – maybe! – learn what that mystery apple in the backyard really is*
All this deliciousness is inspiring, and given how tough apple trees are, how lovely they look and how willing they seem to be, especially at this time of year when wild trees everywhere are loaded with fruit, it’s tempting to fall into thinking it would be nice to plant a tree or three. Just by keeping your ears flapping while you attend the tasting tables, by the end of Apple Day you know
a) Some delicious heirloom apples are surprisingly pest and disease resistant, and
b) Some modern apples bred to be pest and disease resistant still manage to taste pretty good.
Fortunately, thanks to the talks on site selection, soil management, pruning and other fine points, you also know that producing good apples takes a fair amount of work and that producing them organically is not easier.
For us, it’s a no brainer: support local orchardists with interesting assortments by being faithful customers and save the garden space for apples better beloved by birds. Great Maine Apple Day has you covered in that department too.
Not in Maine? Pity, that, but there are probably lots of great apples growing somewhere near you. The extensive All About Apples site lists almost 2000 orchards, searchable by state.
* Apples are propagated by grafting; they don’t come true from seed. They do, however, grow from seed, easily and all over the place. So unless your mystery apple was planted on purpose by an apple grower, instead of accidentally by an apple eater (person, bird, skunk, raccoon, deer…), it’s unlikely to be anything with a name and a history.
It’s also unlikely to be very tasty, although you never know. Almost all of the great heirloom apples did originate as chance seedlings and that includes well known stalwarts like Golden Delicious and McIntosh as well as more obscure delights like Blue Pearmain, Hudson’s Golden Gem, and anything with “Pippin” (from an apple seed) in its name.