Bundled up I head to Montgomery Place Orchards in Duchess County. Each week endless assortments of apples keep arriving and changing as the season passes by. I was a bit concerned I might miss the last of the apples due to the snow that fell today.
You’ve come with a list says Talea the farm stand owner apologetically. We have hardly any produce left she exclaims! I know that this time of year things slow down quick. Still the carrots, butternut squash onions, eggs and seeing what apple is in season this week is worse the trip for me.
The advice I get at Montgomery is always spot on. The dialogue on how each year’s apple tastes, feels and holds is a most serious matter.
I explain I’m looking for an apple that works for a Tart Tatin. I might have misinformed some of you last year as my mother’s perfect Tart Tatin was not made with Russet apples. An assumption I took for granted as we had only Russet in our garden. Which apple she used has been my job to find out.
Last year I had quite a disaster at a clients house as my Tart Tatin looked more like a pumpkin dropped in the middle of it. It was mush when I took it out of the oven. I saved it by making caramel and pouring that over it. It looked as shiny as ever. No one knew but me I had cheated.
Back to apple discussions: Jonagold holds well and most of all tastes perfect but it is no longer in season. I had stocked up on Jonagold but ran out due to the many Tart Tatin requests this season. Golden Delicious is recommended. That’s the one apple I am not a fan off. It looks like I will have to drop the Tart Tatin and move on. Move on to what? Pumpkin pie? I make a face at the idea. Talea grins. Obviously my expressions tell all.
Well….long, long pause.. I have a few Northern Spy hidden which I was saving for myself says Talea. Really. Oh what a lucky day this is! I tip toe right behind her as she vanishes in a secret hideaway place. I peak but she’s gone. Saying good bye to an apple like that can hurt.
I dilly dally around a bit as she bids her farewells before venturing into the heavenly forbidden apple bins myself in search of Northern Spy. Talea gone. Help! There must be 20 assortments behind the scenes with not a name to the bins. Now I’m feeling really stupid. I am guessing at what would be Northern Spy surrounded by apple bins which all look the same to me. I pick one and with a different look I ask sheepishly: Is this the Northern Spy? Now I get a chuckle, as Talea points me to the Northern spy. City girl after all. I’ll only take a few I say suddenly feeling guilty at dipping in. I take 5 apples only .
I come home where a message awaits me. We don’t want apple dessert but a pumpkin pie would be lovely.