Despite the apple’s year-round presence in grocery aisles, this beloved fruit definitely has its season, and it’s right now.
Biting into one of these cold, crisp, tart-sweet fruits is one of the great pleasures of Fall, especially the heirloom varieties renowned for their complex flavors. Everett Family Farm in Soquel is a purveyor of such apples, and it’s well worth a quick drive up Old San Jose Road to visit their farmstand.
Not only will you find fresh apples, but also beautiful tomatoes, peppers, squash, alliums, lettuces and pasture-raised eggs from their farm. Plus, the farmstand, clabbered in tin and nestled behind a few still-ripening persimmon trees, couldn’t be any cuter if it tried.
Your cell phone will probably lose reception, but don’t be afraid of missing the turn—hand-painted signs that say things like “Taste the Rainbow!” and “Don’t Panic, It’s Organic!” will show you the way. I’ve been visiting them almost weekly this month to buy five-pound bags of Belle de Boskoop apples, a fragrant russet-skinned heirloom variety, to make apple jelly and apple sauce. I also grab a half gallon of their fresh-pressed apple cider, made with a mix of Honeycrisp and Gala apples.
Truly, this fresh, sweet, fragrant juice is the ambrosia of autumn. There’s nothing like it, and it can’t be replicated any other time of year. Nor can it really be preserved—it’s one of the brief pleasures of the season, and I drink as much of it as I can before it’s gone for another year. Tipping back a long, cold glass often brings to mind a line from a Robert Frost poem: “Essence of winter sleep is on the night, The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.” Apples are here, and the year is coming to an end.
That being said, Everett Family Farm also makes a beautiful hard cider—Soquel Cider, from heirloom Gravensteins—that can be enjoyed in any season. This adult beverage is crisp, dry, effervescent and delicious, and right now I like to enjoy it alongside roasted vegetables and sausages, especially squash, and, of course, apples.
2111 Old San Jose Road, Soquel. 566-0472. Open every day 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.