It’s Apple Season in North Carolina from early September through Mid-October!!!

North Carolina is the 7th largest apple-producing state in the nation and Henderson County is the largest apple-producing county in North Carolina.  “The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family. It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans” – Wikipedia

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I never knew there were so many varieties of apples until a few years ago when I went wine tasting in the mountains and I discovered Foggy Ridge Cider (http://www.foggyridgecider.com/).  Most people only know of the widely-grown apples of Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty and Galas.  Who knew, certainly not me, but “there are 16,000 varieties in the US but only 3000 are available today from nurseries” – Foggy Ridge Cider.   Their orchard was a sight to see and I highly recommend stopping by just for their wealth of information on apples that they can tell you about not to mention their superb ciders.

The one thing about apple season I love is how incredibly delicious the house smells when my partner is baking my favorite Dutch apple, which he’s doing right now as I write this blog and I’m getting hungry!  He refuses to give up his recipe so here’s one that I know is close to it http://www.food.com/recipe/dutch-apple-pie-43990 .  He typically uses one granny smith and the rest galas.  Just remember that when you are making the pie crust, if you want a good one, be sure to use lard.  He makes the best pie crust that I have ever tasted!

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On the CCCC Student Farm we have finished harvesting the melons, green beans, and cucumbers.  We still have just a few slicing tomatoes and cherry tomatoes growing though those are just about to come to an end so enjoy them while you still can.  I discovered for the first time this year black cherry tomatoes and sun gold tomatoes (that we grew on the farm I worked at this summer) and I can’t believe I’ve never had them before now because they are so delicious.  Here’s a wonderful recipe that I made this year with the sun gold’s though I love them too just as a snack  http://onlinedigeditions.com/display_article.php?id=412554.  I found this recipe for the black cherry tomatoes that looks and sounds great that I want to try.  http://food52.com/recipes/6500-roasted-red-pepper-and-black-cherry-tomato-bruschetta-pollock-style.

We are harvesting sweet and hot peppers and basil.  If you love basil as much as I do then making pesto is a must.  This recipe is easy to make and great to make a large batch and then freeze some http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/fresh_basil_pesto/.    The husk cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, sweet potatoes, field and black eyed peas and okra planted in the field are just about ready to start harvesting.   The loofah sponges are really starting to come in but now that they are bigger so they are for drying and using for dishes or bathing instead of eating.  Fresh eggs are still available from our lovely hens though production will start to slow now as the days are getting shorter.

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One of the top food trends for 2013 according to Forbes is cheese.  They said that cheeses from all over the world were on display at food shows but there was a definite focus on less process and more craft cheeses.  Making your own yogurt and cheese is also big this year.  My partner and I are interested in trying to make our own cheese and have ordered our deluxe cheese kit from New England Cheese Making Supplies  http://www.cheesemaking.com/.  Fifth Seasons http://fifthseasongardening.com/ also carry these kits as well as more cheese making supplies.

Image I can’t wait until it gets here to give cheese making a try.  It doesn’t look too difficult at least in all the youtube video’s we have watched like this one…

http://www.youtube.com/embed/au3q4SukY4E?feature=player_detailpage

I’m hoping it goes well as I’ve been trying to talk him into us getting a dairy cow because I want raw milk and making cheeses would be great too as much as I love cheese.  So if making cheese is a success then maybe we’ll be adding dairy cows and hopefully even dairy goats to our own farm.

I tried for the first time this past weekend some fresh farm made yogurt from my friend at Greenfield Creamery and Farm.  She only had vanilla left by the time I got to the Burlington Downtown Farmers’ Market, but boy was it out of this world!  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat store bought yogurt ever again after hers.  I think now I’m going to have to give yogurt making a try as well to see if I can make it anywhere as good as Greenfield’s.

One last trend for the year according to the Huffington Post is restaurants using winter vegetables like squash, kale and turnips.  Now you might be saying to yourself, more local restaurants have been using local farm foods so what’s the big deal?  Well, it’s a big change because they are using vegetables as the actually main course!  This is a huge bonus for all the vegetarians out there that’s for sure.

The fall solstice is this weekend, September 22nd so make sure to enjoy as much of the summer harvest that’s left while you still can.   Sonya Capps

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