Fresh Eats Blog: Apples

 In Market News

Here at the Coquitlam Farmers Market we are all about local, seasonal and sustainably grown produce. What better way to celebrate the summer months than a fresh take on some familiar foods! This week’s topic: apples.

Did you know the crabapple is the only variety of apple that is native to North America?

 Did You Know?

Did you know apples are a member of the rose family? This crop grows on a tree which typically can take five years to produce it’s first round of fruit!

Did you know it takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider? Apples are a good source of fibre and do not contain any fat, sodium or cholesterol.

Varieties of this fruit are in season in South West British Columbia from August all the way until March! Make sure you stop by the market this Sunday to try some of the province’s best!

Recipe of the Week

Apple Cherry Cobbler

Courtesy of MARTHA STEWART LIVING

Ingredients:

4 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (4 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup sugar
Coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, grated

Directions:

Step 1- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In an 8-inch square baking pan, toss apples, lemon juice, and cherries.

Step 2- Whisk together sugar, a pinch of salt, the cinnamon, and flour. Add half the sugar mixture to apples; stir to combine.

Step 3- Stir together oats and remaining sugar mixture. Add butter, and stir. Evenly pat oat-butter mixture over apples. Bake until oats are golden, apples are tender, and the juices are bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes.

Ingredients at the Market

Apples:

Cinnamon: Amazing Foods

Cherries: Harvest Direct, Hill Top Farms, Red Barn Plant and Produce

Oats (Try some amazing granola from): Delish Gluten Free, Gabi & Jules

Butter: Golden Ears Cheescrafters

Steps on How To Grow

Apple Growing 101:

Step 1- Planting your apple tree in the spring is recommended, but if the fall climate is mild and moist, growth can be successful. Be sure to choose a variety that best suits your growing conditions. Not all apples grow everywhere and the time needed to produce fruit varies.

Step 2- Each variety of plant has a certain amount of time when temperatures can be between zero and six degrees Celsius. This is referred to as chill hours. For example, the farther north you go, the more chill hours an apple variety needs to avoid late spring freeze problems.

Step 3- Prior to planting for maximum results, test your soil. This will determine the soil amendments necessary to correct nutrient deficiencies and adjust soil pH. The amendments should be worked into the soil to a depth of 12 to 18 inches. This is where the tree will root, not just the depth of the planting hole.

Step 4- Plant your apple trees in an area with good drainage as they do not like soil that is too moist. To ensure your soil is moderately rich and is able to retain enough moisture, include organic material in addition to your mulch. This will also provide nutrients for your trees as they decompose.

Step 5- For optimal tree growth, find a place that has full sunlight or as much as possible. This ideally means six or more hours of direct summer sunlight per day.

Step 6- Seedlings or full-size trees should be planted about 15 to 18 feet apart in a row. A dwarfing rootstock might be four to eight feet apart in one row. Dwarf apple trees are notoriously prone to uprooting under the weight of a heavy crop, so you should provide a support system for your hedge. You can grow your trees against a fence, or you can provide free-standing support in the form of a trellis.

Note: Do not plant trees near wooded areas or trees.

Step 7- Before you plant your tree, remove all weeds and the grass in an approximate four foot diameter circle. Create a hole that is about twice the diameter of the root system and two feet deep. Loosen the soil on the walls of the planting hole so the roots can easily penetrate the surrounding soil. When placing your tree in this hole, make sure none of the roots are twisted or crowded. Place soil around the roots and as you cover them. Then, more firmly pack down the soil to remove air pockets.

Step 8- Fill the last portion of the whole with loose soil and then press down once it is filled.

Note: Most apple trees are grafted. The graft union must be at least two inches above the soil line so roots do not emerge from the scion. The graft union (where the scion is attached to the rootstock) can be recognized by the swelling at the junction.

Step 9- Do not rush to prune your trees when they are young. This may delay its overall growth and fruit production. Some ways to prune young trees are to rub off misplaced buds before they grow into misplaced branches; bend a stem down almost horizontally for a few weeks to slow growth and promote branches and fruiting; and tie down with strings to stakes in the ground or to lower branches.

Step 10- Mature or adult trees can be pruned annually and you do not have to be as careful with this process. Once you have a substantial crop, thin the fruit often. This prevents a heavy crop from breaking limbs, and ensures better-tasting, larger fruit crop.

Apples in B.C.

Apples account for 50 percent of international deciduous fruit tree production. In B.C. there are fifteen varieties of apples grown in the summer alone!

Regions of this province are widely known to produce some of the best crops of apples in the country. There are a number of varieties that can be planted across B.C. so you rarely find trouble growing!

This province has become one of the most reliable contributors to the production of apples in Canada with one of the earliest apple productions breaking ground in Vernon.

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