Sunday, November 2, 2014

Portland's Annual Apple Fest

The world of apples, sliced and ready for tasting

Portland Nursery, a local haven for plant and landscape lovers, holds an annual fall apple festival for 2 weekends every October.  We attend the fest most years and come away marveling at what a tasty, satisfying wonderful fruit an apple really is.

Apples have always been something we ate because we were told they were good for us, as in, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away."  It's tragic that during the first 30 years of my life the only apples  available were Red Delicious and Golden Delicious (and Romes showed up in the store during holiday time).   Goldens are good but not great.  Reds could be good if you hit the right one, but often they were tough on the outside and mushy inside.  They were like ravishing blonds--beautiful, but easily bruised.   See Bridget's post about apples here.

A few decades ago exciting varieties made their way into the grocery.  Granny Smith, Fuji, and others  crisp and bursting with flavor redefined the apple.  Then Gala appeared and Red Delicious disappeared.  What a perfectly wonderful  trade.

At Portland Nursery's apple fest visitors can taste smidgens of about 40 varieties of apple.  Everything from common to rare to heirloom varieties from local growers are there for the tasting.  You can track your favorites on a sheet, and find out which varieties are for sale in the nearby apple tent.

This year we bought Jonathan's which are Craig's favorite; Jonnies also make a lovely pink applesauce.  We bought Criterions because the sample in the tent was scrumptious.  And we bought Ambrosias which turned out to be the very best apple I have ever tasted!   I cannot get enough of them, but alas, until next year's apple fest I will have to taste them in my dreams.


  1. Ooh, we get Ambrosias here from time to time, always from Italy. Our small grocery store doesn't have them, but the big one often does. Have you tried Jazz? I think they're similar to Ambrosia.

  2. No, yet I have heard of Jazz and may have seen them in the store. I'll buy them next time they're available.