The Gravenstein Apple (Pie)

Written by
Gravenstein Apples (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Ever since I was old enough to make an edible pie I’ve made myself an apple pie for my birthday.  It’s my favorite dessert, although I prefer eating it for breakfast.  To me, that’s a birthday celebration, pie for breakfast every day till there is no more pie.

But now that I’m a farmers market shopper I sometimes feel guilty making an apple pie in July.  I mean, with all those berries and stone fruit around and apples traveling from other hemispheres I really should give up the apple pie in July thing.  But I can’t.  It’s too ingrained.  During my college years when I was spending a part of every summer in Italy I diligently packed up my rolling pin, pie pan and yes, sometimes even the apples.  (This was before the Granny Smith had made an appearance in Italian markets).  But now you have a really good reason to make a Summer Apple Pie.

Apple Pie (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

The brief Gravenstein Apple season is here.  If you grew up in California you might remember a Sonoma County dotted with apple trees instead of grape vines.  But now the variety is so threatened it’s been put into the Slow Food Ark, to try to protect the remaining trees.  So do your part.  Order a box of Gravensteins and make a summer apple pie.  You couldn’t ask for a better breakfast.

To order, call The Fruit Guys at 877-FRUIT-ME (877-378-4863). Gravenstein apples have a short and precious harvest season and will be available for Tuesday though Thursday delivery the weeks of August 15th and August 29th only.

Among the hundreds of California apple varieties, the heirloom Gravenstein Apple is beloved as one of the best eating and baking apples. A fine balance of sweet and tart, its full-bodied flavor intensifies when made into sauce, juice, pie, or vinegar, yet the Gravenstein Apple is in danger of becoming commercially extinct. Suburban development, the popularity of wine grape production, and competition from Chinese apple juice concentrate are among the factors that have greatly reduced the number of orchards and apple acreage in Sonoma County.