Autumn Orchard Apples

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As mentioned in Apples, Apples, Apples, each autumn we head out to the Shenandoah Valley area for a relaxing afternoon in the apples orchards.  What a delight it is to deeply breathe the fresh mountain air, take in the abounding beauty of the rolling Appalachians and stroll through rows upon rows of glowing apple trees in an orchard with roots to the 18th century.  It’s a great way to escape from the city and restore your balance.

We usually end up at Stribling Orchard, which is located in the very small mountain town of Markham, VA.  There are a couple of orchardsOrchard Apples and wineries in Markham, but we gravitated towards Stribling.  We all know freshly picked, ripe orchard apples taste much better than those highly polished red and green balls grocery stores pass as apples.  But fruit from an orchard, where the first apple trees were planted in the late 1700′s, is rich in flavor, crisp in texture and perfectly sweet.

A variety of apples found their way into our bags: red delicious, golden delicious, macintosh, jonathans.  So what’s the difference between these apple varieties?  Taste, texture, Usage.  McIntosh, one of Jason’s favorites (his absolute favorite is Honey Crisp), is red and green in color, crisp and slightly tart, and good for baking and casual eating (not that there’s some formal way of eating apples – no suit and snobby attitude required).  Red delicious are, you guessed it, red in color, sweet and softer in texture, which makes it a popular eating apple.  Jonathans are red, look similar to a red delicious, but are more firm, crisp and slightly more tart than a red delicious – another all around eating and baking apple.  Golden delicious are yellow in color and offer a sweet, softer eating experience.  For more detailed descriptions and more than you’d ever care to know about apples, check out

Check out our Autumn Apple Recipe page for links to our favorite CookingShorts apple recipes. We also encourage you and your families to spend the afternoon strolling through Stribling Orchard.  In addition to apples, they offer a wide variety of jams, honey, fresh baked bread and apple pastries, cider and more.  It’s a fun family oriented activity – have a picnic, learn about their history, get outside and breathe it all in!  You can also make it a romantic picnic lunch with your special someone.

Let us know your favorite apple variety and about your recent trip to an orchard in the comments below.

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