September 18, 2019
CONNECTICUT GROWN APPLES
Bureau of Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation
There is nothing better on a crisp autumn day than the taste of a fresh Connecticut Grown apple.
Apple season is fully upon us and growers across the state have been reporting a good apple crop for 2019—much better than 2018.
The season has been running a little behind schedule at many orchards due to the long, hot summer, but the recent arrival of cool nights will bring the desired color and flavor to the apples before harvest.
“Timely rains early in the summer, and a cooler, drier late August and early September have made for excellent fruit quality,” said Jon Bronzi of Deercrest Farm. “This year’s crop is much nicer all around over last years, especially in varieties like Macoun and Honey Crisp,” said Jon.
Deercrest Farm grows 27 varieties of apples on about 50 acres in Glastonbury, CT. Apple varieties include Honey Crisp, Macoun, Gala, and Courtland, which Jon describes as the quintessential New England apple.
Connecticut farmers grow more than 60 varieties of apples in orchards across the state. Many farmers offer consumers the opportunity to buy fresh Connecticut Grown apples directly from their farm stands.
Plan your Connecticut orchard visits using the Apple Growers brochure, Apple Growers listing by county, and the Apple Varieties and Their Uses brochure available on the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg) website at https://portal.ct.gov/DOAG/Marketing/Marketing/Find-a-Farmer.
Fresh Connecticut Grown apples are also available for retail and wholesale purchase at the farmers' market at the Hartford Regional Market located at 101 Reserve Road, Hartford, CT. The greatest selection of vendors and products can be found early on Saturday mornings, May through October. Go to https://portal.ct.gov/DOAG/ADaRC/ADaRC/Farmers-Market-at-the-Hartford-Regional-Market for more information about the Hartford Regional Market.
Apple picking is a quintessential New England activity the whole family can enjoy.
Midseason varieties like Gala, Honeycrisp, and McIntosh are ready for picking at many Connecticut orchards. Go to the Connecticut Apples website at https://www.ctapples.org/pick-your-own for a listing of Connecticut orchards that offer the opportunity for customers to pick their own apples.
Doug Bussa of Bussa Orchards in Glastonbury said the flavor of this year’s apple crop has been excellent and in general the apples are a larger size.
“The late varieties are lighter than the early varieties. Probably due to early season rain effecting the pollination of the late varieties, but the lighter load on the late varieties mean larger size,” said Doug. “Some customers like larger apples for baking and processing—one apple is a pound and a half.”
For more information about Connecticut apples including apple recipes and tips for the handling and storage of fresh apples visit the Connecticut Apples website at https://www.ctapples.org.
In addition to pies, muffins, and applesauce Connecticut Grown apples also make excellent cider.
Deercrest Farm makes unprocessed, raw cider from their own Connecticut Grown apples starting the first week of September until New Year’s Eve.
“People love the cider,” said Jon. “Especially the purists that appreciate raw cider.”
Deercrest Farm uses all varieties of apples to get the sweet-sour taste just right. They sweeten with Gala or add Granny Smith for tartness.
“Every batch tastes different,” said Jon. “All varieties are mixed together to get the flavor profile right.”
Jon said the cider, which is only sold from the Deercrest Farm retail farm stand, located at 3499 Hebron Ave. in Glastonbury, will keep in for three weeks unopened in the fridge.
Visit https://www.ctapples.org/growers for a listing for Connecticut orchards that also sell cider. The Connecticut Apples website is sponsored by the Connecticut Apple Marketing Board—an advisory board, which consists of eight Connecticut apple producers representing both large and small acreage, whose mission is to promote the sale of Connecticut apples in Connecticut markets.
The Connecticut Apples website also includes information about apple varieties, apple recipes, and the HardCORE CT Apple and Pear Challenge.
Participation in the 3rd annual HardCORE CT Apple & Pear Challenge is one way to celebrate CT Grown for CT Kids Week this October 7-11, 2019. For more information about the Challenge and a toolbox of resources including teacher materials and apple activities for kids go to https://putlocalonyourtray.uconn.edu/hardcorechallenge.