By Michael Welch Photo by Carole Topalian
There’s a revival of a certain kind underway in the Finger Lakes. This one doesn’t involve music, religion or a theater stage, but it does require earth, air, water, human determination and curiosity—and plenty of budwood. Near-lost varieties of apples, the fruit America is most famous for, are being given another chance to shine and delight the masses on a large commercial scale. The flavor-hounds amongst us have Red Jacket Orchards to thank for the pleasure.
The 600-acre orchard and fruit farm in Geneva started experimenting with heirloom apples on ten acres in their already successful retail business of tree-ripened fruit and juices in 2006. The next year, they harvested the first crop—a small yield of several bushels per variety—nothing compared to the gold standard of 1,000 bushels per acre, but the apples came out winners. This year’s heirloom harvest looks promising enough to ensure that customers throughout the Northeast will taste the difference between a conventional apple bred for travel, size and beauty, and an antique variety bred for flavor and versatility.
Continue reading It’s a Long Road to an Apple in Edible Finger Lakes Fall 2010.