North Star Orchard Blog

You know that stuff you drink in fall that's made of apples? What IS that stuff? Cider? Juice? What's the difference? Ah, welcome, my friend, to the wonderful and wacky world of history, the English language, and modern technology.

Every school child learns the romanticized story of Johnny Appleseed. Every adult (should) know the real story of Johnny Appleseed. That all those seeds he planted were for pressing cider, not eating fresh out-of-hand, and of course, that cider was the hard, alcoholic stuff.

So, back in the day, "cider" meant an alcoholic beverage (there's your truncated history). And in many countries of the world today (here's where the English language comes in), "cider" still means an alcoholic beverage. Which is why we get some mighty interesting questions from time to time from foreigners when they visit our stand and purchase our cider.

What does November mean to you? Thanksgiving celebrations...the clocks changing...digging out the sweaters and packing away the shorts...cozy evenings with warm drinks and fun movies?

November means all of that to us and more. Here on the farm, November means Gold Rush apple month - that golden time of year we all wait for to harvest and enjoy those awesome apples, make varietal cider, and start cleaning up the farm to ‘put it to bed’ for the winter.

For some of our local community, November also marks the memorable loss of two teens who suddenly and silently lost their lives a couple years ago to odorless carbon monoxide gas.

There may not be much more to be said about Gold Rush that you don’t know already, but we’ll give it a try with a bit of interesting apple history...

Winecrisp is a complex, crunchy, sweet, and very hard apple with a fruity sweet flavor (with hints of berry!) and a beautiful dusky red skin.

When we planted this new variety, it was simply known as Co-op 31 (the poor nameless thing). We only planted one tree, just to try it out. There's nothing too exciting-sounding about "Co-op 31", so who wants to risk planting more than one of them?!

With more than 300 apple varieties to choose from, it's pretty clear that NSO is passionate about all things APPLE! Applesauce, apple butter, apple cider, and apple information. We know how to grow them, how to pick them, how to store them, and how to get them to you.

Now we have a few more interesting tidbits to add to YOUR apple knowledge:

Shall we take a journey down memory lane to our childhood today?

Back in the day, when we all chewed gum, Bazooka was quite a thing. Pink, perfumy, rock-hard at first (usually), we dug in anyway and then attempted to blow bubbles with it. At least for this chewer, bubble-blowing seemed rather tricky with Bazooka.

Hazelnuts, pecans, hickories, and walnuts - oh my!

A few years ago, Ike planted a number of nut trees. What a nut, some thought - they can take forever to start producing! Well, here's our resident 'nut' posing with our first pecan 'nut'. Woohoo - looking forward to those pecans!

But don't get your pecan pie recipes ready and waiting just yet. That pecan is the ONLY one on the farm this year. So it'll be a number of years before we have enough to sell. And the hickories aren't even close...

But in the meantime, we have a lovely crop of hazelnuts!

Here’s more info from Farmer Ike:

Sugar Snap that is...and not the peas – the apples!

The name says it all: they are not too sweet and not too tart, have a great flavor and crunch, and they’re quite juicy. We think they have the quintessential apple flavor and texture when your brain thinks of the word ‘apple’. Most everyone just loves these striped beauties!

And now, for the rest of the story (remember Paul Harvey?):  

As you have probably noticed by now, NSO does not have many (if any) apple varieties that you have ever seen in the grocery store or even at most other farm stands! We want our apples to not only look great but taste even better, so we spend lots of time selecting (and by that I mean tasting lots of apples - good and bad) which apples to grow for you.
 
Here is a break down of the top ten highest selling apples in the U.S. compared to our top ten best sellers:
 

Just when you were thinking "Darn it, there's no fun holiday on the horizon until Halloween...", here's some great news: THIS SATURDAY (September 17th) is International Eat An Apple Day! Yes...it is a real thing

Oh...how to celebrate, is the question? And on such short notice, too! Well, easy peasy; here's a list of SIX easy and delicious ideas!

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