In case you hadn't noticed, apple season has arrived!
I'm stoked. I couldn't wait for my favorite golden delicious apples from Cliffside Orchards. But when I got to the market, I was shocked to learn many apple farmers had experienced severe hail and some got an early frost which damaged many apples. Extensive fruit damage means that Cliffside Orchards (one of my favorite farms) won't be at the market this year. I'll miss seeing Jeanette and Jeff Herman and their cute pug. And the apples--I don't care what anyone says about golden delicious apples--Cliffside Orchards grows the best golden delicious apples. This is the first year in a long time they haven't been to the U-District market.
Some farmers lost their entire apple crop and others don't have enough fruit to make it through the winter selling at the markets.
Other Market News
The U-District Market has three pieces of news to share:
Mollie Katzen will be doing a cooking demo at the University District Market on September 28th. This demo is to support her newest book The Heart of the Plate. I haven't looked at her new book yet, but I still have my treasured copy of Moosewood Cookbook that I got decades ago.
Who doesn't need some seasonal inspiration? As the seasons shift, fall produce overlaps with late summer and the Northwest bounty can be amazing. Honestly, I can't wait to see what Molly will cook next weekend. I'm hoping to catch some veggie cooking inspiration. Get there early for a good seat.
Initiative 522--Label GE Food--the signs are everywhere. No matter what the ads on TV say, most Washington farmers I've talked with support labeling genetically-engineered foods. It's as simple as the TV commercial says--put it on the label and let consumers decide what they want to eat. It is not confusing.
Twenty years ago, people argued about whether nutritional labels were necessary. And now money is pouring in from Monsanto and associates to plant ideas that the new proposed law is confusing and complicated. Say those words and people back off--we'll see after voting day whether everyone bought the company line about unnecessary, complicated and confusing. As for me, I've wanted genetically engineered food labeled from the beginning.
Why can't we have the same rights about choosing our food as people in Europe?
The market is moving. On October 19, expect to see the U-District Market in the street in front of the lot where it currently operates. After talking to Chris Curtis, the market manager, I learned just how hard it was to get the city and metro to agree to a market on the street. But Seattle Metro agreed to run buses on alternative streets. This means for shoppers who drive, parking spaces will be scarce. One suggestion is to car pool. Another is to come early, but sometimes the meter police are out and many streets have timed one or two hour parking. I'd say ride a bike, but that isn't an option for many older or disabled shoppers. Also the rainy winters here can make weekly bike trips to the market a cold wet experience. Hardcore market shoppers will figure it out.
Meanwhile at the parking lot where the market is now, Parks and Recreation is supposedly building a park which will improve the neighborhood. I went to meetings for this in the early phases where they actually had the farmers' market incorporated into the plan. But plans changed. Be prepared to search for your favorite farms for the first few weeks.
Each year Washington State havests over half of the U.S. domestic supply of apples. Go on vacation to Arizona in the winter, and you'll see Washington apples. It's a huge crop and I've come to love certain favorites.
That's why I was so shocked by news of hail and frost damage. But when you think about it, apples can be more vulnerable than other fruit. They stay on the trees longer and are subject to attack by birds and insects. Coddling moth and apple maggot are just a few persistent pests that plague apples.
|A bird pecked apple at Whispering Winds Farm in Skagit Valley. Look close and see the wasp on top.|
|Marble sized hail pummed the apples at Booth Canyon Orchards, a long time market vendor at the U-District Market|
At Grouse Mountain Farm deer came through and ate the lower apple blossoms so their harvest is also smaller this year. I got a number of apples. Too bad, I didn't bother to look at the name.
If they can survive the pests and diseases, the weather is another wild card. We're lucky to have any apples.
I was thinking I about making a pie, cobbler or crisp. Funny how the first of the first of the season brings out my decadent dessert side. Probably not as good as Gravensteins or even my favorite golden delicious apples, I mused. Some apples have more complex subtle flavors that make them better pie candidates.
My Cooking Assistant is impressed.
|The red side of the apples is the side exposed to the sun. Red tones in apples have more antioxidants than the green tones which come from the shady side.|
I decided to look through some old Vegetarian Journals--these are just the ones I have articles in.
My Cooking Assistant is not impressed with my magazine hoarding tendencies. But I found some recipes I'd long forgotten about.
I was going to follow a recipe this time, but I had the frozen pie crust and my mind kept drifting to a Dutch apple pie--the kind with the crumbly topping. I could practically taste it. I wanted it crispier. Maple syrup can take care of that. I didn't realize it taste better than I imagined. Try it yourself and see.
Here's the recipe:
Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crust
1 frozen pie crust, thawed
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
7 or 8 sweet tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced to 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 or 3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple juice
1 teaspoon arrowroot
1. Bake pie crust in a 350F oven for about 12 minutes. Remove and cool.
2. Combine butter and maple syrup in a large mixing bowl. Blend in oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and sea salt. Stir until thoroughly blended. Mixture will be quite thick, but not as thick as cookie dough. Set aside.
3. Set oven to 375F. Combine apple slices, cinnamon, brown sugar, lemon juice and arrowroot. Mix well. Pour the apples into the pie shell. Top with oatmeal mixture, spreading it so mixture is even over the top of the pie. Place pie on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and continue to bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is browned on top.
4. Serve with coconut sorbet or vanilla ice cream.