Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Going Out on a Limb

I can't decide on which sentence to begin this post. The two top candidates are a) "Let the games begin!" or b) "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

I've never joined a CSA before. I'm usually never in one place long enough to enjoy it.* That, and whenever I am home I can't even eat all the produce that's sprung up in my own garden.

But this year, I found a CSA too good to pass up. It's called Out on a Limb, and it focuses exclusively on apples, glorious apples, in all sizes and shapes and tastes and textures, from modern graftings to ancient varieties people have been using to keep the ol' doctor away for hundreds of years.

The first pick-up was today, and it'll keep happening every other week until November. I'm so excited I can barely contain myself.

The kind folks at Rabelais Books offered up their space as Temporary Apple Depot, so there I went. All the apples are neatly bagged and labeled in a long row under the store's giant plate-glass window. You simply walk down the row, trick-or-treat style, and pop a bag of each variety into your own, far bigger tote bag. Some of the apple bags are big and heavy, a few are tiny and light with just one or two samples to whet your appetite.

While I was there chatting with Samantha, the bright and devilishly funny owner of Rabelais, people kept streaming in to pick up their bags, and everybody had the same sense of giddiness. Apples! All those apples! One woman had kept her son out of school for the day so he could join his younger sister and mother on their apple-picking expedition. He promptly unearthed the largest apple of their stash - nearly as big as his head - and bit into it. The last I saw of him, he was lying on the floor in a blissful apple stupor with just the core in his hand.

What to do with all these apples? That is the question du jour. They don't send you away clueless. We all received a newsletter - a vast and colorful piece of research and writing - explaining the backgrounds of each apple, the best ways to prepare it, recipes you may want to try, and even introducing you to the people who would be picking your apples over the coming weeks.

But the first order of business: Which one should I try first?

*I already think there may be at least one week when I won't be around to enjoy my shipment. If you're in the PWM area and interested, drop me a line at Clara AT knittersreview DOT com.


VeganCraftastic said...

That's a really cool CSA, there are so many types of apples out there and they all taste so different!

spillyjane said...

What gorgeous apples - I especially like the heart-shaped specimen! I am a total sucker for any variety of plant - edible or ornamental - that can be traced back a hundred or more years.

Clara said...

Isn't it cool? I just had one of the Whitneys (bottom of photo) and it was a totally delicious apple experience, in miniature.

Anonymous said...

oh, try the one that's shaped like a heart!!

What a really cool CSA. I need to find one in my neck of the woods. Really, I do.

Happy Appling!

YarnKettle said...

You can't go wrong when you follow your heart, hint hint. I always say I'm going to make pie and cobbler and crisp but usually eat them raw. Maybe this year.

moiraeknittoo said...

The last I saw of him, he was lying on the floor in a blissful apple stupor with just the core in his hand.

This made me giggle so hard. Abandon! Delight! Glee! :D

Liz said...

They look amazing! I'm waiting for my neighbor to begin his harvest - hopefully there will be apples this weekend. First up on the apple baking extravaganza will be a sheet pastry lined with apple slices.

Mel said...

I actually have a Wealthy sapling, and a Cole's Quince (not a quince, but a blush yellow apple). The former was developed in MN from seed that came from Maine, and the latter originated on a farm in Cornish, ME.

I also have a cedar on the property line that's harboring cedar apple rust. It's a source of great irritation, but the neighbors won't consent to its removal.

Olivia said...

So beautiful. Make apple butter with just a tiny splash of rum, so yummy. I do mine in a big blue roaster in the oven.

Lanea said...

Color me jealous!

christen said...

Oh I wish I could find one here!! Is have to start an apple journal (like a wine journal) and keep track. What a wonderful venture!

Deborah Robson said...

I suppose it would be excessive to use a frequent-flyer ticket to come pick up your share. It's probably too late anyway. I loved living in New England because of all the kinds of apples.