August 2nd, 2022
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX Cucumbers, Peaches, Apples, Basil, Onions, and Potatoes
Bread this week: French Baguette OR Asiago Cheese your choice of one
!!!! NEW QUARTER !!!!
Fall Quarter Payment is Due August 9th
~The new quarter starts August 16th and ends November 8th
~We do have Bi-Weekly option available
~Please let us know if you DO OR DO NOT plan on continuing.
~Please do not leave payments at drop sites
We have 2 kitties left, If you are interested in a new little addition to your home, let us know. They are sweet and looking for a loving home.
This week on the farm
Since its origin in 17th century Denmark, Gravenstein has been prized for its crisp but tender flesh, sweet-tart juice and intense, distinctive aroma, honeyed, floral and fruity. The great English pomologist Edward Bunyard wrote in 1929: “Of Gravenstein it is hard to speak in mere prose, so distinct in flavour is it, Cox itself not standing more solitary, so full of juice and scented with the very attar of apple. This aroma comes out on the oily skin and remains on the fingers despite many washings, bringing to mind the autumnal orchard in mellow sunlight.”
Gravenstein was imported into Denmark by
Count Frederik the Younger (1662-1708), who found it at the monastery L’Abbaye de Hautcombe near Lac du Bourget in
Savoyen. He brought the apple home to his family’s Gråsten Palace, and the apple cultivar was named “Gråsten”; or
“Gravenstein”; (German variant of the Gråsten).
The Gravenstein apple was introduced to western North America in the early 19th century, perhaps by Russian fur traders, who are said to have planted a tree at Fort Ross in 1811. However, recent evidence indicates that Gravsenstein apples might have arrived even earlier, brought north from New Spain by the Spaniards.
Gravenstein was the major apples cultivar grown in western Sonoma County, California and have been a staple there
since 1883 when Luther Burbank advised Nathaniel Griffith to plant Gravenstein apples on his 78 acre ranch on Laguna
Road in Sebastopol. With that, the commercial apple industry was born. By 1887, the Hunt brothers opened the first cannery in Santa Rosa, followed by at least a dozen canneries that would process apples in Sonoma. At the beginning of World War II in 1940, Sebastopol had its high point of acres of Gravenstein apples with 9,750 acres, and was the source for apple sauce and dried apples for the U.S. troops. Sebastopol was once known as the “Gravenstein Apple Capital of the World.” In 1953, there were more than 15,000 acres devoted to apples and fewer than 12,000 acres to wine grapes. It turns out the fragile Gravenstein doesn’t travel well. It ripens early and often arrives at stores bruised and overripe, compared to the much heartier Red Delicious and Granny Smith varieties. More importantly, it doesn’t yield as much money per acre as the almighty wine grape.
In the late 1950s, the apple acreage was in decline with, 7,465 planted acres with Gravensteins. In 1980, the acreage fell to 7 3,234 acres Apples became a worldwide commodity in the early 80’s with at least 14 countries producing more than a million tons per year. With that, the price per ton became so low that growing apples became economically unviable. Many growers resorted to subdividing their ranches, selling off small pieces, and many started the conversion process to winegrapes. More than a half-century past its heyday, Sonoma County has a total of 704 acres of Gravensteins apples left. Gravenstein are now a novelty hand fruit and pie filler, with a local Slow Food chapter devoted to its heritage and preservation. Some local cider makers are doing their best to extend the variety’s lifespan. Only six commercial growers and one commercial processor remain in Sonoma County as of 2006. California State Route 116 through portions of western Sonoma County is designated “Gravenstein Highway”; to commemorate the industry.
Our family history with the “gravs” is with our kids growing up and coming to grandma and grandpas ranch to make apple sauce and apple juice in early August. It was a great escape from the valley heat to come to the fog of
Sonoma County with my friends and their kids. There was a passel of us invading the Ranch, kids everywhere all under the age of 10 riding the John Deer Mini tractor on the sidewalk that circles the entire farm house or in the play house concocting some brew, certainly with their friends and having the time of their lives. As we would get everyone settled some of us would head over to Sebastopol to Paul Kollings Nana Mae apple orchard and pick up a bin of apples (about 600 pounds) and bring it back and start to work. We set up the apple press under the patio and my dad would have a half of a plastic pipe running from the bin on the truck down to the apple press. The kids loved sending the apples down the chute, and then of course drinking the juice coming out of the other end of the press. Another set of us would be at the apple peeler, hand pealing the apples and tossing the spiral peeled and cored apples into the cook pot that was heating on the outdoor portable stove. It was a multi-day event, as each of our families would all go home with canned apple sauce and apple juice for the year. I can’t remember how many quarts we made, but it was a lot!
Now Jeff and I are the grandma and grandpa at the ranch, that same apple press is at the farm in Capay, but we are talking about planting the one acre open field here in Santa Rosa to an apple orchard and bringing the press back to the Ranch. In the meantime, we are still buying apples (not in the bin, but boxes) from Paul Kolling and what you have in your box today are his Gravenstein apples. He is one of the few apple growers left in Sonoma County who harvests from many different landowners that still have small orchard left. Enjoy the heirloom Gravenstein apple that has a momentary harvest, only a few weeks in the year, and generally you won’t see them in any stores, except maybe in
Sonoma County. And better yet come to the Peach Party and help up press some of Paul’s apples into juice. Have a great Week~ Annie
Peach & Cucumber Gazpacho
6 ripe peaches (about 2½ pounds), peeled, halved, pitted, and cut into small chunks
2 med cucumbers, peeled, and cut into small chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
1small garlic clove, minced
1 cup water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ tsp coarse salt, plus more to taste
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
4 tblsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
1 small jalapeño pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
In a large mixing bowl, combine peaches, cucumbers, bell pepper, onion, and garlic, and toss. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together water, vinegar, olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pour dressing over peach mixture and toss. Gazpacho will be chunky; add more water to achieve desired consistency. Stir in herbs. Add more vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving, chilled, in soup cups or bowls. Drizzle each serving with olive oil and garnish with jalapeño pepper.
Gravenstein Apple Crisp
Source: Olivers Market
10 cups Gravenstein apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup Clover butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the sliced apples in a 9x13 baking dish. Mix the sugar, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over the apples. Pour water evenly over all. Combine oats, 1 cup flour, dark brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until bubbly
MELT IN YOUR MOUTH POTATOES
3 pounds potatoes, peeled
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup chicken broth
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Place oven rack in upper-middle position. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cut potatoes into 3/4 to 1 inch thick slices, discarding ends. Toss potatoes in butter mixture. Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Roast potatoes for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip potatoes over. Return to oven and roast for an additional 15 minutes. Remove potatoes from oven and flip one more time. Add the broth and garlic to the pan and carefully return to oven. Roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.