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Columns

Joan Knows: Apple pickin’ season arrives

Cooler weather brings apple pickin’ time. So I asked some folks to pick their favorite apple. 

One person from St. Charles went quickly to his image of the apple from the Bible and Adam and Eve. He’s known for doing this, and it came as no surprise. His version of the Biblical apple was red on the outside and black on the inside. When pressed to get back to another world, he quickly acknowledged his choice would be the honey crisp.

Pam Weber Waters answered her phone, and I could almost see her smile when I asked her about apples. She recalls being 13 years old with her friend Joanne on the sidewalk in Batavia near the popcorn stand. A guy nearby had a row of apples he was trying to sell.  They told him they didn’t have any money. So he gently picked two apples out of his pile and gave them to each girl as a gift. That was Pam’s introduction to the Fuji apple, and she’s loved them ever since.

Albert Vanthournout, who now lives in Maryland, recalled working with his uncles to pick apples from trees that were growing on their farm. He remembers the delightful smell of the fresh-picked apple and asserts that any kind of apple that is freshly picked would be a good choice. In those days, the uncles harvested the apples and sold them at the roadside of the Dunham Road Farm. They quickly sold out of their apples and took their proceeds over to Leitner’s in South Elgin, where they fully enjoyed the wonderful hamburgers.

Another man from St. Charles did not hesitate to say he likes the Jonagold. He reports that those apples are cheap and accessible.

A Geneva woman on the staff at the clinic is the only one who expressed that her favorite apple is the taffy apple.

And another from the clinic who lives in Addison likes her apples not too sweet.

I used to be an orchard-goer for many years. 

When my dad and I would take the Saturday drive up to the Badger game, he liked to pick a back-roads way to get there.

One Saturday we were driving west of Beloit when the country road came to an end at the highway going into town. As we were deciding which way to turn, an orchard appeared in front of us, the Ten Eyck Orchard.

We pulled in and were immediately greeted with friendliness and the offer to sample an apple. It turns out this was our first bite of a Macoun apple. The apple was crisp, not too tart, and a nice handful.

It turns out they were grown right there at the orchard, and it was a popular place there in the region for folks to go and pick their own apples. We needed to keep on schedule for the Badger game so didn’t linger that time. But we made our way to the orchard every other time for the rest of the season. 

When I looked it up, I discovered the Macoun was a cross between the McIntosh and the Jersey Black. I further discovered that the apple was not named for its predecessor but for a Canadian horticulturist. And our favorite apple was the parent of the ever-popular honey crisp.

Does it make you think you need to go out and pick some apples? If so, and you make a pie, remember me.

Joan Arteberry is a longtime resident of St. Charles. Write to her at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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