Saturday, October 10, 2009

Crisp & Juicy Vermont Apples

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Even though everyone is busy tonight, it's still quiet here. That's nice. The sink is full of dishes and there's a good chance it will be full come morning as we've been out straight all day. Outside the temperature is dropping and the wind has grown tired too and has stopped blowing.

Today was the 100 th anniversary of the Marshfield Fire Department. Surrounding towns brought their vehicles and some of the antique trucks and equipment were spiffed up for a parade. Marshfield is home to some of the best bagpipers you'll find and they brought a cadence to the festivities. Many folks have never heard such good bagpipe music as we have here. Gail and Alex had plans to attend but thought they would first visit a new apple orchard on Cabot Plains Road above Cabot village.

Gail is a dedicated newspaper reader and she is big on the Hardwick Gazette and the Caledonian-Record from St Johnsbury, two close-by papers that can always make you smile no matter what is on page one. Gail's talent is seeing things I might miss and a week ago she mentioned the opening of a new orchard on Cabot Plains Road. It didn't click with me until I noticed a sign they put at the intersection of Routes 2 and 215 in our village. Gail said she and Alex were going so I handed over some green stuff and asked for some Honey Crisp apples if "they" had any. "They" were the Burtt's from Maple Glen Farm in Cabot. Keith and his son Greg were featured in a news article Gail saw that described an orchard of 750 trees the first year that then grew by an additional 1300 trees a year for two more years. That's a lot of trees!

By 1:30 Gail and Alex returned home and they were excited about the parade and their treasures from the apple orchard. They purchased two types of sweet corn, a couple nice winter squash, a bunch of ornamental corn for the door and some Honey Crisp apples for me. There were eight apples.....only eight apples. I promptly ate one and then there were seven in the bottom of a bag. These are not easy to come by so I told Gail I was heading back myself to purchase some more.

Macintosh apples

The Burtt family have done a great job with this orchard, and the quality of their products after so little time is really exceptional. As soon as they acquainted me with the layout, gave me a bag that would hold up to twenty pounds of apples and pointed me in the direction of the Honey Crisp apples, I began an apple picking experience I really enjoyed. The trees are dwarf trees so they stay in the 12 foot range but bear lots of fruit. They are also planted close together so there is an economy to fertilizers and sprays and they probably conserve water better planted this way too. The rows are long but the varieties are clearly marked to remind you what you're looking for.

The vegetable selection was nicely arranged and everything was neat and clean. I took two more winter squash and a gallon of cider pressed in a 130 year old press. Delicious!!

If you visit this part of Vermont in the next week or so, make sure you head up Cabot Plains Road out of Cabot village. If you decide to go later than this weekend, perhaps a call first would be a good idea. 802-917-2614. The Burtt's at Maple Glen Farm make a ride in the country a lasting memory. If you want to see some foliage, travel up the hill past their farm and you'll think you're at the top of the world. On a clear day like today, Camels Hump and a variety of Vermont's mountains are very prominent. You'll probably ask yourself what a covered bridge is doing in the middle of a field but you'll be standing at one of Vermont's most photographed sites as you ask the question. The answer is written on a sign, also in the field, where my aging eyes still cannot make out the answer. Here's what you'll see.

I picked a few Galarina apples too because I never saw or tasted them before. The Burtt's have 35 varieties including Jonamac, Cortland, Empire, Macoun's which I really like too, Galas, Baldwin, Northern Spy, Cox's Orange Pippin, Liberty, Freedom, Pristine and William's Pride to name a few. If you cannot make it up that way this year, put Burtt's Apple Orchard at the top of the list for next September. These are very nice farmers with a great farm and a special orchard!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where I hear a single Barred Owl ---calling but not getting an answer. That happens to me too.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm


lynn'sgarden said...

Honey Crisps and Galas are two of my favorites! I have an espaliered MacIntosh but sadly no fruits this year. Those last two photos are stunning, George! said...

Thanks, Lynn. There are places in Vermont that allow these unobstructed views for a hundred miles or so. No matter what season it is, something inside me questions the magnificence of it all.....kind of a "is this beautiful or what?" Guess that's why I always come back to Vermont.


Bob said...

Thanks for the great review! Do you know if Burtts is still open in 2010. Do they have Macintosh apples to pick. said...

Hi Bob; Just returned home from Maine and coming through West Danville I passed the Burtts "yes, foks we are open for the season" sign. They have macs and also have a great assortment of other fine apples. Haven't been there yet this year but might make it today after a trip to the Danville Farmers Mkt. If you are up this way, the little farm stand in Danville on the east side of town just past Marty's Market has the best sweet corn you'll find. Lots of other vegetables too.