Written by Sara Lilkas, Marketing Intern
When people ask about my favorite foods my first instinct is to choose apples. But when I say apples I do not only mean the delicious fruit, I’m also including the multitude of apple flavored baked goods, ciders, and the association they have with fall. Growing up in Upstate New York aka Apple Country, I would probably be considered a social pariah if apples were not high on my list of favorite foods. I couldn’t even tell you why I like apples so much since each variety has its own distinct flavor. If I had to pick my favorite varieties they would have to be golden delicious, granny smith, and honeycrisp (so you can see my taste go from very sweet to very tart.)
The real reason that I have apples on my mind is the weather is beginning to cool down so in addition to pulling out the scarves and boots, apples will begin to pop up everywhere again (which is fantastic.) What’s even more fantastic is the amount of apples available from local growers. Even though New York State may be known for apples, I have recently learned they are actually grown throughout the Northeastern United States. There are tons of orchards throughout the Northeast and many of them are still family owned and run. Price Chopper works hard to find the best tasting apples from local growers located in various parts of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont (and that’s only including a few of the growers they purchase from.) In this search for the best apples Price Chopper has developed long term relationships with many growers including Sunrise Orchards in Vermont (20 years!)
Sunrise Orchards and Roger’s Orchards in Connecticut take great pride in how their apples are grown. Both orchards are certified as Eco Apples™ and have to adhere to strict growing practices in order to receive this certification. The program focuses on the quality of the soil the apples are grown on, and keeping beneficial insects within the environment. As part of this process having as much information about what is going on in the orchard and the plants surrounding the area is essential. By monitoring insect populations, growing conditions, and other factors that are important to the growing process growers can determine whether it is necessary to treat against any unwanted fungus or pest that may be harmful to the apple crop. The Eco Apple™ certification is not given out to every orchard, every year. In order to receive the certification the orchards have to undergo a review by the IPM Institute of North America, to ensure that the growing conditions have been upheld for the year.
As I mentioned earlier I really love ciders. Every once in a while I may indulge in a hard cider (my favorite is Woodchuck!), but the typical nonalcoholic fare is my true favorite. There is nothing better than a beautiful fall day with a glass of apple cider. I’ve recently been experimenting with warming apple cider for those days when the first fingers of winter reach into the air. I’ve found warming up apple cider and adding a pinch of cinnamon does the trick!
When it comes to apple baking I love the classics. There is nothing better in my mind then a warm slice of apple pie (or a whole apple pie whatever floats your boat). My best friend has recently been trying to teach me how to bake and we decided to start big with the pie. We used this recipe for an apple pie from scratch, but a pre-made or gluten free crust could easily be substituted!
How do you enjoy apples in the fall? Share your apple creations on Instagram with #PriceChopper and #Market32!