Until you live in apple growing country, an apple is an apple.
Once you can enjoy the bounty of many varieties rarely found in supermarkets, you find out something completely different. Each apple has its own characteristics. Not just the typical division between eating, cooking, all purpose but:
Does the flesh stay white when cut? Or is the apple brown within minutes?
Is the skin tender? Or tough?
Flesh mealy? firm? juicy?
What about the taste? Sweet? Tart? Both?
Color: green, red, reddish-black?
Size: huge? bite sized?
Storage qualities: the later the apple the better. Some heirlooms, such as Arkansas Black, store well but the taste isn't the best. One of the local orchards used to grow this one years ago.
The Apple Gourmet has favorites and seeks them out. Mine are Honey Crisps, Empire (a tart-sweet, juicy eating apple) and Northern Spy.
Some of the favorites in this area are Honey Crisps (an earlier, wonderful eating apple whose season is over now), Cortland (all purpose), and Northern Spy (tops for apple pies).
Here, from a local apple grower, is their schedule. Thanks to dwarf trees, apples can be picked easily, even by children.
This apple season has been an excellent one. Foliage here is about at peak so I hope I can get to one orchard - we don't u pick any more (can't eat them fast enough) but it still is so much fun.
There are even more varieties grown here - you have to seek other varieties out but the trip is worth it.
"September 6 - Ginger Gold, Gala
September 13 - Ginger Gold, Gala, McIntosh, Cortland
September 20 - McIntosh, Cortland, Honey Crisp, Gala
September 27 - McIntosh, Cortland, Empire, Macoun, Jonagold
October 4 - Cortland, Empire, Gala, Macoun, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious
October 11 - Cortland, Empire, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Ida Red, Crispin, Northern Spy
October 18 - Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Ida Red, Crispin, Northern Spy"