It’s apple season on the Island of Apples. Branches are bending with the weight of the glorious fruit, the air of the orchards sweetened with apple scent. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, and all that. We are deep into autumn now.
Our lone apple tree produced no fruit this year. No tubs are waiting to be filled, and I’m on the hunt for apples to knead into my bread dough. I’ll turn to Black Rabbit Farms, again, Andy Nowak and Mary Reher’s idyllic farming enterprise on Pirates Road, which produces legions of fruit, among other things.
Pender Apple Bread needs cider, too, and I’ll look to our friends Matthew Vasilev and Katie Selbee at Twin Island Cider.
I’ve loved apples all my life and could not believe my good fortune to have found myself on this island that so reveres and celebrates the apple. The roadside stands, the markets, and the farmers and gardeners who fill the boxes, take what they need and spread the rest around.
Kitchens rise with the smells of apples cooking, baking, poaching, saucing, and drying. Pies, betties, crisps, muffins, cookies, cakes, sauces, jellies. Why not bread?
They’ve clung to branches all summer long, Pender’s apples. Warmed by sun, nourished by rain. Buffeted by winds, bathed in moon-glow. And neighboured by nests of robins or ruby-throated hummingbirds.
Softening, mellowing, flavouring
These swelling globes of gold, red, green, orange, and yellow. Dapple and streak, russet and glow. Bump and thump on the ground. The bounty is so great there is no transaction just to pick one up and bite.
The bite of a crisp Liberty or Golden Russet, and the sweet dribble of juice on the lip, are the crowning notes of celebration for apple summer, this long season of softening, mellowing and flavouring.
And we’ve only watched! The bounty is surely more than we deserve! 1
(Watch for Happy Monk Apple Bread, coming soon!)