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Localvore: West Coast bounty can't compete with Vermont apples


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#1 jennifer

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 09:59 AM

My Mom lives in Montpelier, VT. She sent me this article to me in the mail from last week's paper. She wrote "Funny!" at the top of the page. I'm not sure what's funny about it. That one of their reporters came here, traveled from mountains to ocean and spoke of all the wonderful things Oregon has to offer, but somehow walked away thinking that we only grow Red & Yellow Delicious, Gala and Fuji apples? I thought this was odd and contrary to everything I've experienced about the orchards & the stands at the farmers markets over the years.

http://www.burlingto...ID=200991202035

"Farmstands and markets were heaped with Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Gala and Fuji. All, to our New England palates, tasted woolly, oversweet and about as interesting as cardboard.

The pies I made were bland and dull.

We found only one apple — one — with the juicy acid of a fresh McIntosh. That was a Hanner’s Jumbo, grown, as far as we could determine, in a single orchard outside Hood River, Oregon.

Heirloom apples for making pie, sauce and cider? Most sellers looked at us blankly."

If you read the article, I think the mention of "City Market" is in Burlington, not Portland. I had to re-read that part to make sense of it.

#2 ExtraMSG

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 11:06 AM

It sounds to me like the lady went to Safeway or Fred Meyer for her shopping needs in Portland and tried to compare that to little produce markets in Vermont. When's the last time anyone saw a red, or even a yellow, delicious apple at a farmers market? I don't think I've ever seen them. My wife and I never buy any of the four apples she mentions -- red delicious, yellow delicious, gala, or fuji. The jonagold/jonathan apple has a much more intense and balanced flavor, as does the honeycrisp, for something you can get at any grocery store. For cooking, we focus on the granny smith. I know Burlington only has 40,000 people, but I imagine even there a real supermarket probably carries those apples as well. Even in Vermont.

But had she gone to Portland Nursery's apple tasting, she could have tried nearly 70 types of locally grown apples.

I was just in Vermont in October and tried a lot of apples both there and in Montreal that were specific to the region. They were tasty, but certainly no tastier than what you get here at a farmers market. I do wish there were more McIntosh out here just because it's the classic apple flavor that you recognize from candies and other sweets. It has that very familiar apple flavor.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

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Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#3 jennifer

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:29 PM

That's what I told my Mom. That I don't think I've seen any of those apples ever at any of the farmer's markets, and that the lady must've only gone to large-scale commercial nurseries that supply the rest of the US. I just thought it was so odd because the rest of her research was as if she went to every nook & cranny across Portland and out to the Coast, including mushroom foraging. So for the blanket statement that our apples are snoozarama...I thought that was odd.

My family lives in Montpelier, and let me tell you, their grocery stores are no prize. Even their nice Shaw's (equiv of Safeway) is very generic in their offerings. They have co-ops and farm stands like we have. But I just think her research was strange on the topic of apples.

Vermont in October is gorgeous.

#4 ExtraMSG

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:46 PM

She could just be bullshitting the Vermonters who don't know any better in the name of Green Mountain pride.

I have a pic of the apple display at City Market in Burlington, but unfortunately it's as part of a shot of the entire produce section. It's a nice market, comparable to a New Seasons, though the prepared foods there suck-ed mightily. We got a meal there before heading to Montreal and after browsing Church St. Wife got some prepared foods. I went the smarter route and got some tasty Vermont cheeses, chocolate, and fruit for my dinner.

But here's a pic of apples in Montreal's Marche Jean Talon.

Attached File  jean_talon_apples.jpg   152.57K   0 downloads

I tasted every apple at this stand that I couldn't get here. Some were quite tasty, but none blew me away and made me think: wow, they have better apples out here. Now, there were some cheeses.....

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#5 ExtraMSG

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:47 PM

Oh, hey! I just noticed there's GALA down there.

(btw, is anyone else annoyed by how New Englanders use LOCALvore rather than LOCAvore? It's like hearing waiters at fine dining restaurants in Chicago say "peenut nohr" for pinot noir.)

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#6 Amanda

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 01:04 PM

I detest yellow delicious apples from anywhere. They just seem mushy and tasteless to me. Red delicious doesn't suit me much either. Come to think of it Granny Smith's are the only apples I can say I truly love. The ocasional Gala is fine, too. I'm just talking about apples to eat raw here since I rarely cook with fruit.

Best regards,

Amanda

#7 bbqboy

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 01:12 PM

I thought our weather was too mild for championship apples? Don't they need a hard freeze?

#8 jafar

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 06:46 PM

I detest yellow delicious apples from anywhere. They just seem mushy and tasteless to me. Red delicious doesn't suit me much either. Come to think of it Granny Smith's are the only apples I can say I truly love. The ocasional Gala is fine, too. I'm just talking about apples to eat raw here since I rarely cook with fruit.

Best regards,

Amanda


A well grown Yellow Delicious picked ripe from the tree is definitely not mushy or tasteless. It is a really good apple, they just don't keep well.

#9 jennifer

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 08:00 PM

She could just be bullshitting the Vermonters who don't know any better in the name of Green Mountain pride.

I have a pic of the apple display at City Market in Burlington, but unfortunately it's as part of a shot of the entire produce section. It's a nice market, comparable to a New Seasons, though the prepared foods there suck-ed mightily. We got a meal there before heading to Montreal and after browsing Church St. Wife got some prepared foods. I went the smarter route and got some tasty Vermont cheeses, chocolate, and fruit for my dinner.

But here's a pic of apples in Montreal's Marche Jean Talon.

Attached File  jean_talon_apples.jpg   152.57K   0 downloads

I tasted every apple at this stand that I couldn't get here. Some were quite tasty, but none blew me away and made me think: wow, they have better apples out here. Now, there were some cheeses.....


I was just showing Max the article and noticed, she said she was here for 3 months. So her findings on applies suprises me even further.

Off topic, have any great pics to post from your VT/Montreal trip on extramsg? Do you go back there often?

#10 ExtraMSG

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 11:13 PM

Only ever been once. Have hundreds of pics, but I don't know when or if I'll ever post them.

Back on the topic of apples. My wife and I did a three day weekend in Yakima in September. I was primarily exploring the Mexican food scene out there, but we also did some wine tasting and farmers market shopping. Lots of little farmers markets out there. (I brought back cases and cases of phenomenal chiles that we pickled at K&Z.) Anyway, we had stopped up by some orchards and vineyards and were taking pictures of them with the storm clouds and rainbows in the background. This guy in a vette drove up the dirt road and asked what we were doing. We explained and he seemed to approve. A few minutes later he came back in his Big Red donning overalls and asked us if we wanted a tour. Hells yeah. He took us through the vineyards, showed us what he does, and talked about the hundreds of acres he farms. He mostly does cherries and apples but the vineyards were his hobby. He showed us the different grapes, explained issues with growing them, answered some questions, and then took us to his neighbors apples. He pointed out that one row was primarily for pollination and not good for selling. They were ripe however and he pulled one off the tree and gave it to us. I think it was a Gala. It was delicious. Very juicy, very good. I grew up around orchards and it definitely reminded me of the apples I'd pull of the tree. (A neighbor kid and I used to help his family press their apples into cider and then we'd sell the cider on the side of the road. It wasn't pasteurized, though, and would turn to hard cider or vinegar if not consumed quickly.)

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#11 jafar

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 02:45 PM

Only ever been once. Have hundreds of pics, but I don't know when or if I'll ever post them.

Back on the topic of apples. My wife and I did a three day weekend in Yakima in September. I was primarily exploring the Mexican food scene out there, but we also did some wine tasting and farmers market shopping. Lots of little farmers markets out there. (I brought back cases and cases of phenomenal chiles that we pickled at K&Z.) Anyway, we had stopped up by some orchards and vineyards and were taking pictures of them with the storm clouds and rainbows in the background. This guy in a vette drove up the dirt road and asked what we were doing. We explained and he seemed to approve. A few minutes later he came back in his Big Red donning overalls and asked us if we wanted a tour. Hells yeah. He took us through the vineyards, showed us what he does, and talked about the hundreds of acres he farms. He mostly does cherries and apples but the vineyards were his hobby. He showed us the different grapes, explained issues with growing them, answered some questions, and then took us to his neighbors apples. He pointed out that one row was primarily for pollination and not good for selling. They were ripe however and he pulled one off the tree and gave it to us. I think it was a Gala. It was delicious. Very juicy, very good. I grew up around orchards and it definitely reminded me of the apples I'd pull of the tree. (A neighbor kid and I used to help his family press their apples into cider and then we'd sell the cider on the side of the road. It wasn't pasteurized, though, and would turn to hard cider or vinegar if not consumed quickly.)


Please, tell us about the Mexican places. My parents live in Yakima and I lived there when I was young.

#12 ExtraMSG

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 09:42 PM

I was surprised that most of the places in Yakima Valley were pretty weak on Mexican food -- at least it's easy to find better taco trucks and taquerias here. I thought it'd be like one big Woodburn. However, there were a couple exceptions: Mariscos El Nayarit and Fiesta Foods.

Mariscos El Nayarit is comparable to places like Puerto Marquez, Don Camaron, and Cora y Huichol here. Best Mexican I had in Yakima Valley, though there were a couple items at some taquerias that were good. (Menudo is a big thing in the valley. They even have a menudo contest each year. But I'm not a fan of tripe, and so not a fan of menudo, so I didn't try it anywhere. Perhaps my loss.) And there were a couple small towns along the old highway (I generally avoid the interstate on such trips) where I visited, eg, four of the five or five of the six taquerias in the little town. I'm not sure I ever saw tortillas made by hand in Yakima Valley. It's just a good counter-example, as far as I can tell, to the maxim that a good Mexican restaurant will have lots of Mexicans or that better ethnic food is found where there are more people of that ethnicity. It's been proven false to me many times.

Fiesta Foods is like a larger Grande Foods, La Tapatia, or Su Casa. It's comparable in size to the Hispanic supermarkets you find in California and Texas -- something on the order of a Safeway here. Good produce, fish, meats, cheeses, etc, with a decent hot foods counter (though you'd definitely be better off at de Leon or Ochoa). But the thing that makes it special is that they are the only place I know of in the Northwest making their masa from scratch. They don't just re-hydrate masa harina. They have large vats where they soak dried corn and then grind it into masa and then make tortillas, etc, from that. The tortillas aren't as good as handmade ones. They come out a little dry. But they have a faaar superior texture and flavor to commerical tortillas, tortilleria tortillas made with masa harina (eg, La Morenita in Woodburn or de Leon), or even to handmade tortillas that you get around town made with masa harina (which is all of them). I've been to the Yakima location and the Hermiston location, which is their newest and the better of the two with sit-down dining area.

Mariscos El Nayarit
132 South 2nd Street
Yakima, WA 98901
509.469.7452

Fiesta Foods - Pasco
115 S 10th Ave
Pasco, WA 99301
509.547.5356

Fiesta Foods - Sunnyside
2010 Yakima Valley Hwy # 1
Sunnyside, WA 98944
509.836.2257

Fiesta Foods - Yakima
1008 E Nob Hill Blvd
Yakima, WA 98901
509.654.7500

Fiesta Foods - Hermiston
1875 North 1st Street
Hermiston, OR‎
541.667.2073‎

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#13 chefken

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 11:10 AM

I detest yellow delicious apples from anywhere. They just seem mushy and tasteless to me. Red delicious doesn't suit me much either. Come to think of it Granny Smith's are the only apples I can say I truly love. The ocasional Gala is fine, too. I'm just talking about apples to eat raw here since I rarely cook with fruit.

Best regards,

Amanda


A well grown Yellow Delicious picked ripe from the tree is definitely not mushy or tasteless. It is a really good apple, they just don't keep well.


I agree, and I have seen them at farmer's markets. In fact, if I can get good ones, they're my apple of choice for a Tarte Tatin, of which I've made thousands over the years for my restaurants. My mentor in Paris actually showed me that they were a good apple to use, as they're high in pectin and hold their shape well during the baking. They don't have the most complex apple taste - and aren't therefore my favorite eating apple. But with the heavy suffusion of caramel in the tart that's not the biggest consideration.

One of my favorite eating apples is the Liberty, if you can get them fresh - they don't have a particularly long shelf life.
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#14 jafar

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Posted 04 July 2016 - 08:15 PM


Mariscos El Nayarit
132 South 2nd Street
Yakima, WA 98901
509.469.7452

...

Fiesta Foods - Yakima
1008 E Nob Hill Blvd
Yakima, WA 98901
509.654.7500

 

Thanks Nick,

 

We loaded up at Fiesta Foods for our 3 hour drive home today :)

 

Unfortunately, Mariscos El Nayarit seems to have closed :(