How disappointing is a floury, mushy apple that looked red rosy perfect in the fruit bowl? An apple is meant to be crunchy, firm and juicy. I don’t really care what it looks like, as long as it tastes the way an apple should.
I have been buying Stanthorpe apples since I moved to Brisbane. In fact, these days I can’t bring myself to buy apples that don’t come from the Stanthorpe region. Not because Stanthorpe is better than any other apple growing town but because apples taste best fresh. Lengthy storage, gassing and green picking destroy all the good qualities of an apple, except it’s appearance. The close proximity of Stanthorpe to Brisbane means from late January to June, we are are spoilt with the influx of fresh apples at the local markets.
Every year I have an autumn/winter love affair with the New England region of New South Wales. To get down to the autumn leaves, smokey chimneys and frosty mornings we pass through Stanthorpe often during apple season.
On a recent visit to Stanthorpe, we stopped over at Sutton’s Farm to pick our own apples. I admit this is a bit of a novelty activity set up for tourists, but who cares. Eating an apple you picked from the tree rocks.
Sutton’s farm is located in Thulimbah on the northern end of the Granite Belt.
Grab a few bags from inside the Cafe shed then follow the signs and start picking. The better apples tend to be at the back of the orchard. You are free to taste the apples as you pick.
At a cost of $2/kg it’s a bargain.
You will soon discover that snails go nuts for Stanthorpe apples too.
Sometimes when we run out of apples my husband and I will think of driving up to Stanthorpe just to pick more. There is something special about eating apples you picked for yourself. I think it has to do with making a real connection to our food and taking the time to be part of the process.
We loved our apple picking adventure so much that a few weeks later we went back with my sister and brother-in-law. We had a ball running around the orchard, tasting and picking apples together.
In our fast paced life we are losing the connection to our food and the natural rhythms. When you get that back, even if for a little moment, you really notice it.
Knowing the provenance of your apples is going to become even more important this year, as imports from China and New Zealand are set to hit the shops in the coming months.