I love apple season. The warm, glowing month when the days grow a little shorter and the air crisper.
This is the season when the abundant, seemingly year-round fruit is actually at its peak — crisp and sweet. Melissa’s Produce invited LatinoFoodie to tour the Cuyama Orchard’s organic apple farm about two hours north of Los Angeles near Ojai.
These apple trees were cute. The dwarf apple trees lined the 300-acre farm. Cuyama boasts 15 varieties of organic apples, including Crimson Gold, Fuji, Pink Lady, Gala, Honey crisp, Early Fuji, Granny Smith, just to name a few. In total about 15 varieties. The star of the day was the crab apple called Crimson Gold, small red apples crisp and both sweet and tart.
Looking at the perfect lines of miniature trees, you realize these are not the apple trees you’ve seen in movies or in picture books. The owners of the orchard explain this way all the apples in the tree get about the same amount of sun exposure and it is much easier for them to pick. The Cuyama Orchards, the largest organic apple growers in Southern California, have about 200 workers on the farm.
During the tour, we picked fruit right off of the tree. I came home with a canvas bag overfilled with Pink Lady’s and Crimson Gold. For Halloween, we made miniature caramel apples on a stick. For El Día de los Muertos, we featured a spicy and sweet Chicken Apple Empanada. Look for the empanada recipe here.
Where can you buy the organic Crimson Gold apples? They tell us much of the Cuyama Orchards apple crop can definitely be found at places like Bristol Farms and Whole Foods. Look for the label that reads Melissa’s Organic Crimson Gold Apples, in 1-pound bags, and sold for $3.49-$3.99 a bag.
Take a look at this little video we took while at the farm. I love the Andrew Sisters’ song, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.”