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GUEST BLOGGER: BC-Grown Apples at UBC

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Posted by : Anonymous, Tue, Oct 23 2007

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The UBC Apple Festival has been going strong for the past 17 years and when last year's rain ruined my plans on attending, I made sure that I was going to make it this year. Lucky for festival attendance, the weekend weather was glorious with sunshine and blue skies. I did have a bit of a cold but decided that there had to be something to that old adage about an apple a day keeps the doctor away. So I headed out with four friends to the UBC Botanical Gardens to see what all the hoopla was about.

This year's festival promised over 60 varieties of heirloom, new, and "tried and true" varieties of BC-grown apples for tasting and buying. It was a great opportunity to sample exotic and rare apples and the $3 tasting ticket was the hottest event of the day. Even though we purchased our tasting ticket early in the afternoon, all but the final tasting of the day were sold out. Luckily, the festival had all kinds of distractions, so we sipped on hot apple cider, checked out the BC Fruit Tester's display of over 200 types of apples, crabapples and quinces grown in BC, and were almost tempted to enter the "Longest Peel" contest.

When we finally got into the apple tasting tent, it was like apple nirvana; here lay over 60 different varieties of apples with names like Ambrosia, Rubinette, Cox's Orange Pippin, and Winter Banana. I immediately started to hunt down the most sour tasting apples, since that's the kind I love most. As I got chatting with the volunteers about which apple was the crispiest, the juiciest, the most tart, someone tugged my shirt and pulled me aside. Another sour apple fanatic had overheard my conversation and decided to fill me in on his most revered varietals since we had similar tastes. He showed me his hand-written list where he starred his two favorites: the Sundance and the Crispin. Ah ha! With this top-secret information, I thanked him and went in search of his recommendations.

While the Crispin and the Sundance were delicious, I found three new apples that might topple the Granny Smith off its podium as my all-time favorite apple: the Glockenapfel which was firm and tart, the beautiful looking Belle de Boskoop with it's russet exterior and juicy crisp flesh, and the Spigold which was the perfect balance between sweet and sour. Sadly, these varieties were sold out at the festival and I'm sure would be difficult to find at the local grocer. In fact, this year many of the most rare apples were sold out within five minutes!

Since our tasting was the last one of the day, we purchased our apples "blind." I came away with a bag of organic Newtown Pippins and some Jonamacs. While the pippins are pretty good eating apples, I'm not too fond of the softer, mealier Jonamacs. What can I say, I was swayed by the write-up that described the Jonamac as superior to the MacIntosh. However, I'm sure they'll be good doctored up in a sandwich, or in somecooking and baking.  

Next year, you can bet that I show up before the gates open with my specially starred apple list in hand. It will be Glockenapfel or bust!

Jeannette Ordas is a Vancouver-based Web Designer and Food Blogger who is probably right now thinking about what she'll make for dinner.


Posted: Tue, Oct 23 2007 by Anonymous
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