September 19, 2012

2012 Apple Guide: The what, when, where and how

OUR 2012 APPLE GUIDE covers the most popular varieties plus a few of the harder-to-find heirloom apples that are becoming increasingly popular with cooks and apple fans.

WE’VE ALSO INCLUDED descriptions of what the fruit tastes like, suggestions for how to use it and where you can find it. The orchards listed here have confirmed that they do indeed have these varieties available for sale or pick-your-own this year.

ALL references to ripening times are based on a normal year.

THANKS to Renae Moran of the Maine Pomological Society for the photos of Fortune, Brock, Mutsu, Blue Pearmain and Winter Banana.

SEE YOU in the orchards!

Baldwin
What it tastes like: Ready in mid- to late October, this heirloom apple is crisp and juicy with a bit of sweetness.
Where to get it: McDougal Orchards in Springvale, Sweetser’s Orchards in Cumberland Center, Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus, Wallingford’s in Auburn, Apple Ridge Farms in Auburn, Doles Orchard in Limington, Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram, Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner.
How to use it: Good for baking, and makes “a fabulous venison mincemeat because it keeps its shape,” according to Connie Sweetser.

McIntosh
What it tastes like: A mix of sweet and tart.
Where to get it: Available in mid-September, the Mac is Maine’s most popular apple. Virtually every orchard has them.
How to use it: Snacking, cooking, applesauce, cider. Can become mushy in a pie.

Cortland
What it tastes like: Ready in late September, this apple is tart and crisp.
Where to get it: Five Fields Farm in Bridgton, Hansel’s Orchard in North Yarmouth, McDougal Orchards in Springvale, Lakeside Orchards in Manchester, Boothby’s Orchard in Livermore, Douglas Hill Orchard in Sebago, Sweetser’s Orchards in Cumberland Center, Pleasant Pond Orchard in Richmond, Pietree Orchard in Sweden, Libby & Son in Limerick, Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus, Lakeside Orchard in Manchester, Randall Orchards in Standish, Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, Wallingford’s in Auburn, Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram, Doles Orchard in Limington, Brackett’s Orchards in Limington, Kelly Orchards in Acton, Rocky Ridge Orchard in Bowdoin, Apple Ridge Farms in Auburn.
How to use it: A favorite for cooking because it stays firm. Won’t brown quickly when cut, so it’s a good apple to use in salads or for serving with a sharp cheese. Also good for baking and drying.

Macoun
What it tastes like: Sweet and mildly tart like a McIntosh, but better. It stays crisper longer than a Mac.
Where to get it: Five Fields Farm in Bridgton, Hansel’s Orchard in North Yarmouth, Kelly Orchards in Acton, Sweetser’s Orchards in Cumberland Center, Pietree Orchard in Sweden, Libby & Son in Limerick, Lakeside Orchard in Manchester, Randall Orchards in Standish, Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, Wallingford’s in Auburn, Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram, Brackett’s Orchards in Limington, Rocky Ridge Orchard in Bowdoin, Apple Ridge Farms in Auburn.
How to use it: Ready in September, this is a good variety for applesauce. Cook it with the skin still on to make the sauce an interesting, purplish color. Also good for snacks and desserts.

Paula Red
What it tastes like: This early apple is sweet with a touch of tartness, like a McIntosh.
Where to get it: Five Fields Farm in Bridgton, McDougal Orchards in Springvale, Sweetser’s Orchards in Cumberland Center, Libby & Son in Limerick, Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram, Brackett’s Orchards in Limington, Kelly Orchards in Acton.
How to use it: Good for snacking, pies and applesauce.

Red Delicious
What it tastes like: Sweet.
Where to get it: Five Fields Farm in Bridgton, McDougal Orchards in Springvale, Lakeside Orchards in Manchester, Douglas Hill Orchard in Sebago, Sweetser’s Orchards in Cumberland Center, Pleasant Pond Orchard in Richmond, Pietree Orchard in Sweden, Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus, Randall Orchards in Standish, Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, Wallingford’s in Auburn, Apple Ridge Farms in Auburn, Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram, Doles Orchard in Limington, Brackett’s Orchards in Limington, Libby & Son in Limerick, Kelly Orchards in Acton, Rocky Ridge Orchard in Bowdoin.
How to use it: Good for snacking and salads. Not recommended for cooking. Available in September and October.

Golden Delicious
What it tastes like: Sweet and juicy, ready in mid-October.
Where to get it: Five Fields Farm in Bridgton, Lakeside Orchards in Manchester, Douglas Hill Orchard in Sebago, Sweetser’s Orchards in Cumberland Center, Pleasant Pond Orchard in Richmond, Pietree Orchard in Sweden, Libby & Son in Limerick, Randall Orchards in Standish, Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, Wallingford’s in Auburn, Apple Ridge Farms in Auburn, Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram, Doles Orchard in Limington, Brackett’s Orchards in Limington, Kelly Orchards in Acton.
How to use it: A favorite of pastry chefs, this is an excellent baking apple. Also good for snacking.

Lady ('Christmas apple’)
What it tastes like: This small heirloom apple is not much bigger than a crabapple but tastes sweet, more like a McIntosh.
Where to get it: Five Fields Farm in Bridgton, Kelly Orchards in Acton.
How to use it: This apple, which can be downed in two or three bites, has been called “edible garnish.” Grab a handful and eat it like candy.

Honeycrisp
What it tastes like: Sweet, juicy and crisp; some fans say the flavor explodes in your mouth. This is Maine’s hottest new apple, grown here since 1995 and available in late September and October.
Where to get it: Kelly Orchards in Acton, McDougal Orchards in Springvale, Boothby’s Orchard in Livermore, Sweetser’s Orchards in Cumberland Center, Pleasant Pond Orchard in Richmond, Libby & Son in Limerick, Lakeside Orchard in Manchester, Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, Wallingford’s in Auburn, Apple Ridge Farms in Auburn, Pietree Orchard in Sweden, Five Fields Farm in Bridgton, Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram, Doles Orchard in Limington, Brackett’s Orchards in Limington, Randall Orchards in Standish, Rocky Ridge Orchard in Bowdoin.
How to use it: Very popular for snacking.

Empire
What it tastes like: This late-September apple is sweet with some mild tartness.
Where to get it: Lakeside Orchards in Manchester, Sweetser’s Orchards in Cumberland Center, Randall Orchards in Standish, Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, Wallingford’s in Auburn, Apple Ridge Farms in Auburn, Doles Orchard in Limington, Brackett’s Orchards in Limington, Kelly Orchards in Acton.
How to use it: A good all-around apple for eating and cooking. Excellent dessert apple.

Spartan
What it tastes like: Sweet and juicy.
Where to get it: Lakeside Orchards in Manchester, Sweetser’s Orchards in Cumberland Center.
How to use it: Snacks and salads. Available in September and October.

Spencer
What it tastes like: Very sweet and tangy.
Where to get it: Kelly Orchards in Acton, McDougal Orchards in Springvale, Lakeside Orchards in Manchester, Sweetser’s Orchards in Cumberland Center, Pleasant Pond Orchard in Richmond, Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram, Doles Orchard in Limington, Brackett’s Orchards in Limington.
How to use it: Good for snacking, but also a good pie apple. Ready by late September or early October.

Northern Spy
What it tastes like: Available in late October, this tart heirloom apple has a bit of spicy flavor to it.
Where to get it: Kelly Orchards in Acton, McDougal Orchards in Springvale, Lakeside Orchards in Manchester, Sweetser’s Orchards in Cumberland Center, Pleasant Pond Orchard in Richmond, Pietree Orchard in Sweden, Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus, Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, Wallingford’s in Auburn, Apple Ridge Farms in Auburn, Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram, Doles Orchard in Limington, Brackett’s Orchards in Limington, Randall Orchards in Standish.
How to use it: Makes a great pie.

Mutsu (Crispin)
What it tastes like: Ready in mid- to late October, tastes similar to a Golden Delicious, but better flavor. Tangy.
Where to get it: McDougal Orchards in Springvale, Kelly Orchards in Acton, Lakeside Orchards in Manchester, Sweetser’s Orchards in Cumberland Center (limited this year), Pietree Orchard in Sweden, Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram.
How to use it: Good for cooking and eating.

Jona Gold
What it tastes like: Available by early October, this cross between the heirloom Jonathan and a Golden Delicious is sweet, light and crisp.
Where to get it: Kelly Orchards in Acton, Lakeside Orchards in Manchester, Boothby’s Orchard in Livermore, Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, Wallingford’s in Auburn, Apple Ridge Farms in Auburn, Doles Orchard in Limington, Libby & Son in Limerick.
How to use it: Good snacking apple, good in salads and for cooking. Pairs well with cheese. Makes a decent pie when mixed with other varieties.

(Continued on page 2)

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