Monday, October 6, 2008

Heirloom Apple Tasting

Every year in late October we pile in the family truckster and head up the Fruit Loop to Mt. Hood for the annual Heirloom Apple Tasting. It's always fun to take a road trip, hang out in Hood River, and what could be better than tasting dozens of varieties of apples that you'll never see on your grocer's shelves. This year we're going to try something different. Friendly Haven Rise Farm in Venersborg is bringing the fruit to the apple loving masses of Clark County this year.

Never heard of Friendly Rise? Well, to be honest with you, neither had I until today. But these folks are doing some very cool stuff like biodynamic farming, beekeeping, and all kinds of cool classes...and it's right in our backyard!

So here's the scoop on the Apple Tasting. Hope to see you there!


Saturday October 18 11-4
Venersborg One-Room Schoolhouse (just down the street from our farm) 35 min. NE of Portland OR and ten minutes east of Battle Ground, WA
24317 N.E. 209th St. in Battle Ground.
$5 donation, $3 kids 12 and under (under 6 free)

We are hosting an heirloom apple tasting at the one-room schoolhouse in Venersborg. You're invited.

We have over 200 different kinds of heirloom apples on hand for tasting and can take orders for spring saplings.

Did you know apples don't grow true to seed? If you plant five seeds from the same apple, each tree will have a different tasting apple on it, most of them sour. In the old days these "spitters" were used to make cider, not for eating. The only way to continue an apple variety is to graft a branch from the original tree onto rootstock and grow the tree that way.

Keeping heirloom breeds in continuous production is quite a task. A hundred years ago there were over 1,100 different varieties grown and sold in the United States. Today, however, we have only kept a few hundred going. The main reason is that for the last 50 years grocery buyers began requesting apples that ship well and are of uniform size so orchardists began growing those (flavorless) kinds. Right now just 15varieties account for over 90% of what's grown.

Quite obviously, flavor has not always been considered. Most people these days have never tasted the vast variety of flavors apples can have.

To keep a breed going, we need to create demand for different varieties. All the apples at this event are heirloom (antique) apples. Nearly all of them are types that are over a century old. One even dates back to the 1600s.

On Saturday you can taste the Swedish Make (almonds!), Reinette du Canada (pineapple), Japanese Akane (dependably sweet and crisp) and plenty more. We have a few red fleshed ones and a lots of skin colors: Russets are green and potato-like on the outside. The Summer Red is speckled like a red plum. Two Russian apples are vividly deep purple and The Duchess of Oldenburg is red striped.

At this event you'll be able to bring apples from your own ancient tree and we'll help you identify the variety -- if we're smart enough to figure it out. We'll give it our best shot anyway.

We're doing this to help raise funds for Venersborg's one-room schoolhouse so we can install a flush toilet to replace the outhouses that are still in use. Tours of the old outhouses and the schoolhouse will be offered during the apple tasting. The schoolhouse, built in 1912, is listed on the National and Washington Historic Registers as the oldest continuously operating community building in Washington and is the last intact one room schoolhouse in Clark County.

Friendly Haven Rise is a biodynamic farm in Venersborg, WA.

friendlyhaven (at) gmail (dot) com

No comments:

Post a Comment