Many local apples now coming to farmers market

Published 8:52 am Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We probably all are noticing there has been a chill in the air recently that reminds us that fall is just around the corner.

Some of the soybeans are already beginning to turn yellow, acorns are dropping, and even some leaves are starting to fall. Although I don’t like to think about it, September frequently brings us that first frost. The weather forecast for the coming week is predicting a low of 39 degrees one night. Where did our summer go, or did we even have one?

I think that most people would agree that we did have a rather unusual summer season this year. The cool weather early in the season delayed almost everything by about two weeks. I feel that some garden crops (such as tomatoes and peppers) that do best in hot weather never did produce up to expectations. With the late start for most crops, I think all of us are hoping that we will not have an early frost.

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With apples now in abundance, what would be better than a freshly baked apple pie or apple crisp? Or how about biting into a juicy, crunchy freshly-picked apple?

Thanks to research by many Minnesotans, we are now able to enjoy a wide variety of Minnesota developed and Minnesota grown apples. The Wealthy apple was one of the earliest Minnesota varieties, and became a very popular apple not only in Minnesota, but throughout the nation. The Minnesota State Horticultural Society, in combination with the University of Minnesota, developed the Haralson in 1922. The University of Minnesota Horticulture Research Center in Excelsior has developed over 22 successful apple varieties including Beacon (1936), Prairie Spy (1940), Minjon (1942), Chestnut Crab (1946), Redwell (1946), Oriole (1949), Lakeland (1950), Honeygold (1970), Red Baron (1970), State Fair (1978), Sweet Sixteen (1978), Keepsake (1979), and Honeycrisp(1990).

Each variety of apple has certain characteristics. Some of the newly developed varieties even have a resistance to some of the major apple diseases. Some varieties have a sweeter flavor, some a tart-sweet flavor, and some a tart flavor. Some of them are more crisp than others, some cook up better than others, some store better for longer periods of time, some are larger than others, some are red, some yellow, some striped and each has its own unique flavor. When purchasing apples from a grower, ask questions about the apple he is selling, and if possible, ask for a sample so you can taste it for yourself. I have found that to be the best way to have a satisfied customer. Each person’s definition of sweet or tart is so different, that what one person considers sweet may not be sweet to another person.

Because the flavor and firmness change as the apple ripens, it is important to pick apples when ripe, and then store them in cold storage, somewhere between 32 and 40 degrees, with high humidity. Apples left at room temperature will lose their crispness quite quickly, but apples stored properly can remain good for some time, with some varieties storing better than others. Some of the later varieties store best. This would include Regent, Sweet Sixteen, Prairie Spy, Keepsake, Fireside and Connell Red.

Most Minnesota varieties of apples will work well for cooking, as well as eating. Of course, if you are using a more tart apple such as Haralson, you will have to add more sugar than if using a sweeter apple, such as Regent To keep apples from darkening after peeling and slicing them, you can put them in a solution of 2 Tablespoons salt and 2 Tablespoons vinegar in a gallon of water. Or you can use the commercial product Fruit Fresh, which is ascorbic acid, according to label directions

Here are a few apple recipes:

Creamy apple dip

8 ounce cream cheese

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons milk

Blend the above together until creamy and serve with freshly sliced apples.

Apple raisin bread

1/3 cup butter (or margarine)

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cup flour

1 teaspon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspon salt

1/3 cup fruit juice

3/4 cup raisins (preferably golden)

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 cup peeled, finely chopped apples

Cream butter, sugar and egg. Stir together dry ingredients in separate bowl. Add to creamed mixture alternately with fruit juice. Fold in raisins, pecans and apples. Makes one 9x5x3 loaf or two smaller pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, testing for doneness.

Apple pancakes

1-1/2 cup flour

1 -1 /2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 egg, beaten

1-1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoon oil

3/4 cup peeled grated apples

Mix together dry ingredients. Combine beaten egg with milk and oil and gradually add to dry ingredients only until dry ingredients blended in. Do not overmix. Drop by spoonfuls onto hot greased griddle, turning when bubbles cover the top.


This has been a busy season at the Albert Lea Farmers’ Market. We have a record number of vendors, and more products available than ever. I believe our customers are seeing the benefits of buying locally. We offer fresh healthy products, and usually at a considerable savings over buying from local grocery stores. And don’t forget that when you buy locally you are supporting the local economy.

We also have had more activities, entertainment, and meals and food provided by local organizations. The local non-profits turn around and use the money they raise to help support many beneficial causes.

On Wednesday Sept. 10, the Noon Kiwanis will serve a meal between 4 and 6 p.m. and on the 17th of Sept., the Salem Luther Church mission group will be serving walking tacos, rootbeer floats and strawberry sundaes. When possible,we like to showcase local talent also when food is provided. If any groups or individuals are interested in this, please contact Susy Peterson at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, 373-2316.

Hope to see you at the market! We are there on Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. I will leave you with this thought — “Hope enables you to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Faith keeps it lit.”


Apples, tomatoes, potatoes, raspberries, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, radishes, lettuce, sweet corn, summer squash and zucchini, cucumbers, pears, plums, dill, basil and other herbs, glads and other cut flowers, popcorn, peppers, onions, carrots, kohlrabi, watermelons and muskmelons, groundcherries, pork, beef and elk meat, dressed chickens, eggs, jams, jellies and honey, wide variety of home baked breads, rolls, cookies, pies, bars and much more, and locally produced crafts. Coming soon: earlier fall squash, pumpkins and huckleberries.