Enjoy High Country apple season
Chilly autumn days and hot apple cider bring the fall spirit to life.
Apples are the No. 1 growing fruit in our region, with more than 350 varieties found locally.
If you aren’t fond of apples, chances are you haven’t discovered the right variety.
The six to 10 found in grocery stores are varieties that were developed to look perfect, transport well and have a long shelf life, not necessarily taste the best.
There are flavorful heirloom varieties that do store well, lasting for several months in a cool basement. Farmers’ markets are still operating, so ask your local growers which types are good keepers and plan to stock up for winter.
At the Watauga County Farmers’ Market, you will find Bill Moretz, who grows more than 100 apple varieties near Todd. He knows the varieties well, with some of his dating back to the 1500s. Tell him what characteristics you like, and he will set you up with a great apple.
Brushy Mountain Farm and Orchard in Wilkes County also sells at the Watauga market.
If you have room to plant apple trees, purchase them locally from Ron and Suzanne Joyner from Big Horse Creek ( http://www.bighorsecreekfarm.com) farm in Ashe County. They work to preserve more than 350 varieties of heritage apples and ship them all over the country.
If you would like to visit an orchard, Coffey’s Orchard at Coffey Grounds sells apples, fall produce and fall decorations from their farm. Please call ahead, (828) 406-2930.
Apples are the ultimate fast food, delicious right from the tree. These recipes add additional flair.
Submitted by Bill Moretz, apple grower
6 medium apples
3 tablespoons sugar if tart apple variety chosen
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Wash, peel and thinly slice apples.
Place in a cooking pan, such as a Dutch oven, over medium heat and sprinkle with sugar, if using.
Stir occasionally until apples are soft.
May serve hot or cold.
12 ounces Neufchatel cheese
½ cup brown sugar
Beat together until well-blended.
1 cup of cooked and pureed pumpkin (or winter squash)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Add and beat until smooth.
Serve with sliced apples, pears, or other fruit, graham crackers and gingersnaps.
Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D,. is a registered dietitian and nutritionist and extension agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (828) 264-3061.