Friday, 28 September 2007

apple revelation

I've had an apple revelation. It is fresh and tasty, crisp & fresh, delicious. A Red Delicious revelation.

It seems apples are part of my genetic make up, they bookend the growing season in my mind. Spring starts with the fragrance of apple blossoms in the air and the taste of fall is that of a crisp apple. Fresh crisp apples in the cool fall air, warm apple crisp, freshly stewed apple sauce with cinnamon, yellow, red, and green and beautiful variations in between. Spartan, Fuji, Braeburn, Mutsu, Pippin, MacIntosh, Gala and beyond, I love them all - except for the Red Delicious. I have never really been a fan of the Red Delicious. Until just a few days ago, then I had my apple revelation.

I arrived at the Vancouver Public Library, to see Michael Ableman speak, and was given an organic Red Delicious apple form George & Anna Zebroff's farm in Cawston. It was the comment 'it tastes like the holidays' that convinced me to give the old Red Delicious another try. Gone were the spongy texture and the lackluster taste that I found so uninspiring. This Red Delicious was bursting with taste & vitality. The most beautiful shade of red, it fit perfectly in my hands, and as I ate my apple, I relished in the delight of a newly discovered treat. This changes everything! Just as I could taste the warm Cawston sun and cool water that gave this apple life, I could taste the love that nurtures the apples and the land.

I was so pleased to see photographs and hear tales of George & Anna during Michael Ableman's presentation. As I looked around the room and saw people munching away on their apples, I couldn't help but feel like George and Anna were in the room with us.

I could not wait to share my apple revelation. The next morning, I started my class at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition by giving each student a Red Delicious apple from George & Anna's farm. Not only a good source of insoluble fiber, and good for digestion, heart health, and balancing blood sugar, the apple is also part of our folklore, and community. Farmers Markets are always a great way to connect with the people who are lovingly growing our food. With Winter Market season upon us, take the opportunity to stop by the Market, pick up some apples and chat with farmers about the diverse varieties grown right here in BC. It will add a sweet & tangy delight to your fall. Be prepared for a revelation of your own.

I wonder if it was a Red Delicious that fell on Newton's head....

Revelation Apple Crisp

6-8 local apples cored & chopped
(mix & match varieties for an explosion of taste & texture)
1/3 cup apple juice
¼ cup maple syrup
to taste grated fresh ginger

1 cup rolled oats
½ cup spelt flour
¼ cup sucunat
¼ cup organic palm shortening or organic coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1/3 cup chopped nuts & seeds (almonds, hemp nut, sunflower seeds, etc.)

Preheat oven 350° F.

Core & chop apples, add apple juice, maple syrup and fresh ginger. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Mix 2/3 of dry mixture with apple mixture and place in lightly oiled baking dish. Top with remaining dry mixture.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes.

Serve with tea & good friends

*use organic & local ingredients whenever possible

Published in the Slow Food Newsletter Fall 2005

an apple a day.....

An apple a day keeps the doctor away”

Hmmm.... could it be because it is a rich source of fibre? We all know the importance of fibre to a happy & healthy body. Gotta keep things moving! Or perhaps it is because the humble apple is a good source of Vitamin C? One apple (with skin) can provide 15% of RDA of Vitamin C. Important for the immune system, healthy skin, wound healing and more. Think you need a tropical banana for your potassium – think again! That same apple that is boosting your immune system, keeping you regular is, and maintaining blood sugar levels is also providing you with potassium. An important electrolyte, potassium plays a role in healthy muscle contraction. What is one of our largest muscles? The heart!

Apples are produced all around the world, but as luck would have it, there is an abundant supply of apples right here in BC. A trip to the farmers market will be rich with beautiful apples – red, green, yellow & every shade in between. Crisp and bursting with flavour like nothing else. Sweet to tart – there is something for every taste.

Of course, there are our old favourites – MacIntosh, Gala, Spartan, Mutsu. But this year, it is all about the new for me. The Sinta Gold – wow! Firm, crisp, moist, slightly tart, and you can taste the sunshine in it. I am having a love affair with the Sinta Gold – how did I go this long without discovering it?!

Maybe it is the love that am tasting? The Sinta Golds I am eating have been grown with love by Walter Harvey & family on Snowy Mountain Organic Farm in the Cawston, BC. Certified Organic & Biodynamic, you can taste the cool mountain water, warm desert sun, rich glacier soil in each bite. But, I think the secret ingredient is the love. With a happy family of humans, horses and dogs, these apples have a good life before landing in my hand. The proof is in the bite.

The Sinta Gold is yet another homegrown delight. Developed in the Summerland Research Lab, it is one we can call our own.

Not convinced? Try sampling your way through a farmers market to find your favourite variety – for eating, for cooking, for sharing. Your Local Farmers Market will be hosting a Winter Market the Second & Forth Saturday of the month at the Wise Hall, 10am – 2pm, admission is free. There will be a variety of apple growers there to delight your senses in apple flavours & tales. And to supply you with your apple a day. Enjoy!

Favourite Fall Apple Recipe

equipment needed:
hand – front & back

one fresh apple

place apple firmly in hand, rub until shiny & bright
with apple held in palm of hand, bite into apple with glee
use back of hand to wipe fresh & tasty juice away
smile with delight
repeat often

published FarmFolk/CityFolk Newsletter Fall 2006