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.