Apples: Planting, Picking and Preserving
Apple orchards dot the Virginia countryside with an abundance of “pick your own” options in and around Fauquier County. How much do you know about this flavorful fruit?
Apples, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary are “The fleshy, usually rounded red, yellow, or green edible pome fruit of a usually cultivated tree of the rose family.” They appear in Greek mythology, the Book of Genesis and many popular sayings including “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” “As American as apple pie,” and “She is the apple of his eye” to name a few.
So what is it about this fruit that makes it so popular?
Apples can be preserved, cooked, pressed or eaten raw. With more than 7,500 varieties of apples grown throughout the world, there is almost surely one to suit every taste and preference.
In the U.S., 100 varieties of apples are grown commercially in 32 states; Virginia is among the top 10 apple-producers. Over 240 million bushels of apples are grown each year with an estimated wholesale value of close to $4 billion annually, according to the U.S. Apple Association. In fact, apples account for about half of deciduous fruit tree production worldwide.
With so many to choose from, which apple is the most popular? For over 50 years, the Red Delicious apple was the top choice of American consumers. However, according to U.S. Agriculture Department crop forecasts, it has been unseated by the Gala. Gala’s rise in popularity is due to consumer preference for its taste, texture and sweetness.
Regardless of which apple variety is your favorite, you can learn how to grow, cook or preserve apples with resources from Fauquier County Public Library. Here are a few to try:
The Apple Book by Rosanne Sanders
The Backyard Orchardist by Stella Otto
The Beginner’s Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods by Teresa Marrone
The Farmer’s Wife Guide to Fabulous Fruits and Berries by Barbara Doyen
Field Guide to Produce by Aliza Green
Grow Fruit by Alan Buckingham
Growing Fruit Trees edited by Jean-Marie Lespinasse and Evelynne Leterme
The Home Orchard Handbook by Cem Akin
Put ‘Em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook by Sherri Brooks Vinton
Storey’s Guide to Growing Organic Orchard Fruits by Danny L. Barney
Lisa Pavlock, Public Information Coordinator
Fauquier County Public Library