Comfort me with apples

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Red and white barn, Minnesota, USA

A highlight of my foray through the Minnesota heartland last week was the roadside stop at an apple farm in Dakota County, just south of Minneapolis. There, when I scored a quarter peck of Honeycrisps, I experienced something new: apple love. I like apples, mind you, but have always thought they had to be tart to have a good crunch. Not so. 
Honeycrisps were developed at the University of Minnesota in the 1960s. A cross between Macoun and Honeygold, they are sweet, as crispy as anyone could wish, and almost mango-like in their juice quotient (that’s sub-acid, to the folks who bred them). People who know these things call them moderately hard to grow. It turns out Honeycrisp is now one of the most popular around. Guess I’ve not been paying attention for the last few decades….

The farmers at Appleside Farms have 1,000 trees, and their son another 1,000 or so. The day I visited, their little shop in the barn, with its range of exactly one product line—Honeycrisp apples, Honeycrisp cider and Honeycrisp apple chips—was doing a brisk business.

I bought mine fresh out of the washer, and there was not a blemish on any of them. And they indeed proved to be mega-juicy. Next time I go out on an apple search hereabouts, I must remember to take along a towel.

And if I can, I’ll take a few back to Switzerland, to share with Herr Fuchs, my favorite fruit vendor in the Basel farmer’s market. Perhaps he’ll have something similar for me to try?

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