Apples to Apples

On a perfect October day, we left the moist, noisy streets of Brooklyn and drove upstate with our crew of migrant worker friends to pick apples. We foraged through Ulster, Dutchess and Columbia counties in the Hudson River Valley, tasting the cornucopia of apples along the way. New York is called the big apple for a reason as we grow some mighty fine ones here, and the roadsides upstate are littered with "u-pick" signs and small stands offering the bounty of their orchards.

While trolling around the Valley, we visited my friend Talea at Montgomery Place Orchards in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. They have some of the best tasting, most beautiful fruit in New York--fruit that feels particularly special and unique because of the extra dose of love and devotion that Doug and Talea add to their operation. Their farm was founded over 200 years ago, and has  been operated by Doug and Talea Fincke for the past 21 years. They have a number of unique heirloom varieties that taste delicious--especially in a jar! We picked up some Esopus Spitzenburgs, which were Thomas Jefferson's favorite apple, some lovely British heirlooms called Coe's Golden Drop, and the classic Jonathan apples, which were discovered in my hometown of Woodstock, New York in 1826. We love hippie apples.

Now it's time to hit the stove and mix up some elixirs of the jar! Jam on.