I got this in the mail over the weekend...
It is a fabulous shot of my hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. That city has certainly been getting a lot of press and well-deserved attention recently. It has made quite a comeback. When my family first moved there, steel was still king and grit reigned.
I wrote the post a few weeks back, Flipping Them Off (July 16, 2010), and told my woeful tale of learning how to drive...twice. I mentioned a farm we would drive to as part of my training. It was Soergel's. Their orchard dates back to the 1850's and in my memory, produced the most fabulous apples that made the best pies and cider ever. That was my practice drive...to and from Soergel's little country roadside stand to get a basket of apples, a gallon of cider, a pie or all three. But, you know, that was a long time ago and I wondered, with all the changes over the years, had Soergel's orchard and farm stand survived?
Well, yes indeed! Not only survived, it seems to be thriving and here is their logo, with apples pretty as a picture. And, look at those mouthwatering pies! Here is a big The Red White and Food shout out to Soergel's and all the farmers who continue to grow our food and have stuck it out despite scorching heat, too little or too much rain and competition from everywhere. Soergel's looks like it has expanded its crops, turned its little stand into a bustling store and now offers lots of other services like gift baskets, help with special food needs and tours. Apples still are the star crop and below is a great chart of which apples are in season when. We all live in different locations, but this chart is helpful for any apple eater. Thanks, Soergels and congratulations!
Unless you are in the 'Burg and reading this, Soergels is a little out of town for most of you, and so, go visit your local farmers markets and roadside stands this weekend and see which apples are ready for munching. Arkansas Blacks, Razor Russets, all sorts of Pippins...Fall's favorite fruit is beginning to hit the markets!
Here is a favorite way to make applesauce, using any crisp eating apple like Braeburns, Galas or Golden Delicious. It's a perfect follow up to yesterday's post! See note below for more information, too.
4 pounds of apples
pinch of sea salt
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Core and quarter apples. (Peel if you want to or you can pulse cooked peels in a blender later). Sprinkle with a little sea salt and brown sugar. Spread in a shallow baking pan so that the apples are in a single layer but still crowded together. Dot with slivers of butter and a shake of cinnamon, if desired. Cover with foil or glass if using a Pyrex dish and bake in 375 oven for 15-30 minutes, or until softened. Baking times vary with different apple varieties. Uncover, turn up heat to 500 and let bake about 10 minutes more, watching so they don't burn.
Remove from oven and stir until the apples are blended into in a chunky sauce. Taste and add another dash of sea salt, sprinkle of brown sugar or cinnamon or even a drop of apple cider vinegar. Makes about 3 cups.
*Note: Apples are listed in the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen", the 12 most contaminated crops and so buy organic or ask, ask, ask your apple farmer what pesticides, herbicides or sprays are used. Wash well and peel if you cannot find "clean" apples.
Also, here is a very extensive article on chickens and eggs. I will also post it in Our Little Green Book: