Apple picking season is ripe

Different apples ripen at different times, and knowing this will help you choose the juiciest apples and help you bake a more delicious pie.

By Stephanie Racine | Community Contributor

Pinning down the various ripening times can be difficult “because there
are many sub-varieties,” according to Tom Rosenfeld of Earth First Farms.

Ripening mid-August through Labor Day are McIntosh and Paula Red apples. September brings the Red Delicious and next, ripening around mid-September, are Cortland, Empire, Jonathan, and Honey Crisp apples, the last of which is the most requested apple in farmer’s markets. “The Honey Crisp transformed the apple industry,” says Rosenfeld. “It revolutionized how apples [are] bred.”

Rosenfeld asserts it is important to buy organic apples such as the ones he
grows. Calling his fruits “apples with character,” he adds that a fresh Midwest apple has a “more developed” flavor. Non-organic growers focus on how an apple looks, but a cleaner aesthetic does not mean a cleaner apple.

Products from Earth First Farms can be found at Heartland Café in Rogers
Park, which is owned by Rosenfeld, and at farmer’s markets Green City
Market, Logan Square, and Glenwood Sunday Market.

Ready to pick some apples for yourself? Visit All-Seasons Apple Orchard Pumpkin Patch in Woodstock, IL, opening Labor Day weekend, or Heinz
Orchard in Green Oaks, IL which is about an hours drive from the Loop
and is open on weekends, starting September 9.

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