Once upon a time, when Julian and I were living in Blacksburg, we got word of a farm called Doe Creek. It was an apple orchard that was past its prime, the owner had grown old and was battling cancer. The trees had not been sprayed in years (thankyouverymuch!) and the paths had not been trimmed. The family was offering these unkempt apples for $5 a bushel to help pay medical expenses. (A bushel is about 40lbs, so this is a massive deal.) We were greeted at the dilapidated cider barn by a man eating his Sunbeam King loaf and bologna sandwich, ushering some people left, others right. The mini vans couldn't get through the dense brush but we had the truck, so we drove where we wanted while others were stuck on the perimeter. Julian drove around and I pointed, "I want THAT apple right THERE!" and I rode in the bed of the truck until he maneuvered the truck so I could reach the desired apple. (He did his fair share of picking too, not to imply he was sitting on the job or anything!)
The sky was a blue-er blue that day, the air a bit airy-er. Its not uncommon for one of us to be having a rough day and say to the other, "Remember that day at Doe Creek?" So we hauled home our proudly picked bushel of apples and I worked them up for days... and days... pies, dumplings, sauces, you name it.
Now in Morgantown, we get our apples from either the farmers market, which has different varieties or the WVU farm, which sells them by the truckload for $.75.lb. I always find myself saying "What is this kind good for?" So, I'm going to do a review of each kind, what it is good for and how much we liked or didn't like it.
Amount: 1/2 peck
Cost: $5, farmer's market
Yield: 10 apples, 5 lbs
Official apple notes: As many apple varieties are, this apple is a product of a university program... in this case, you guessed it, Penn State. It is liked for its processing characteristics, aka it doesn't turn brown so quickly, is not prone to bruising, etc. It is supposed to have good flavor and attractive orange-red color. The apple can be held in refrigerated storage for up to six months. Flesh oxidizes very slowly and imparts a highly desirable yellow color to processed products. It needs to be aggressively thinned to avoid biennial bearing, so its not likely to make it into my "someday" orchard.
Flavor: The only thing I can think of to describe this apple is "grassy". It tasted grassy and it felt grassy in my mouth. This is really unfortunate because I am confident that it would have tasted better if my apples were RED instead of just-barely-blushy green. My apples are either not what they say they are, or picked way too early. Judging by the fact that it is Sept 19 and the stats for this apple list its maturity date as mid-October, I think the latter is probably the case.
All in all, this is a rather disappointing apple review but I will do my best to find a different batch of Nittanys later in the season and update this review. BUT, from now on I'll know not to waste money on a Nittany apple that's not this lovely red color. You see, apple reviews are where its at.
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