NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – It has been a lucky year for local apple growers, said Betsy Stuart of Somers’ Stuart’s Farm.
“This year we were blessed with an abundance of fruit,” Stuart said. “Our buds didn’t freeze, even though the temperature went down to 27 degrees. A little further north it went down to 22 and killed some of the crop.”
Stuart’s Farm, home of Westchester’s oldest apple orchard, has been in the Stuart family for six generations and continues to thrive.
“People are coming in droves this year,” Stuart said. “Everyone thinks there’s a shortage because of the problems upstate, but not around here.”
Stuart’s favorite apple, of the 35 varieties the farm has carried, is the Macoun. “It’s crunchy, juicy, sweet, it has white flesh, and it melts in your mouth,” she said.
Alex Covino of North Salem’s Harvest Moon Farm & Orchards prefers Empire apples. “People think I’m crazy, but there’s something about the color and the flavor that I really enjoy,” he said.
Covino was also pleased with this year’s crop, although it came in early. “Our trees are on a hill, so even when the temperature dropped to 32 degrees after the flowers came out in the spring, the frost didn’t settle. But the apples were ready to be picked at the end of August. So, unfortunately, we’ve started to run out earlier than usual.”
Stuart’s Farm, at 62 Granite Springs Road, Somers, has almost 20 varieties of apples growing in its orchards and more varieties, grown elsewhere, at the farm stand. September is the month for Macouns, Cortlands and Macintoshes. The October choices are Golden and Red Delicious, Empire, Mutsu, Jonagold, Ida Red, Northern Spy, Baldwin and others. The orchards are open for picking every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market stand is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Harvest Moon, at 130 Hardscrabble Road in North Salem, is open for apple picking every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The farm stand and nursery are open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Across the street at 139 Hardscrabble Road, Outhouse Orchards is open for apple picking during the season on weekends and holidays only, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Daily Voice welcomes your photos of apple picking and apple recipes. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Salem resident Jeanne Marie Pitta shared a favorite apple recipe:
Grandma Brill’s Tarte Tatin
1 package of puff pastry dough
⅓ cup butter
⅓ cup granulated sugar
5 large apples, preferably Golden Delicious, cored, peeled, quartered and reserved in cold water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
A deep skillet with an oven-proof handle
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Add the butter and sugar to the skillet and warm over medium heat, stirring to combine ingredients.
3. Drain and dry the apples and arrange them closely in a nice pattern in the skillet. Sprinkle them with lemon juice and cook over medium heat, approximately 5 minutes, until the butter/sugar melange begins to darken a little.
4. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside while you prepare the dough by rolling it out into a circle slightly larger than the top of the skillet. Place the dough lightly over the filling and tuck in the sides to cover the fruit completely. Cut five steam holes in the dough.
5. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and golden.
6. Remove from the oven, let it rest a few minutes. You may have to loosen the crust edge with a small knife. Then, invert onto a larger plate. Some of the caramelized filling may run onto the edges of the plate.
7. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.