by Amanda Mattos
Every weekend, I walk up to Caitlin at the Reid Orchard stand at the BFM and ask what’s good. She says, “are you feeling tart or sweet?” (I always pick tart), and they always give me something great. Normally I come home with some Nittanys, which were developed at Penn State and are damn near perfect. This week, Caitlin pointed me in the direction of a nearly empty basket near the register, where just a few very very dark, so burgundy they were almost black, apples remained. The Arkansas Black (or Arkansas Black Twig) apples have been making me love fall again (in spite of the fact that the Redskins are trying to ruin it for me).
They’re tart, but not bitter. A hint of sweetness. All crunch. As much flavor in the last bite as in the first. I’m in love.
Reid Orchard sells at a number of farmers markets around the region — Bloomingdale & Mt Pleasant in the city, and a handful of others around the region. Caitlin tells me that these apples will be around for maybe one more week, so hurry to your local market this weekend and snatch some up. She said, “these rare heirloom/antique varieties come and go very quickly.” But if they’re gone, don’t fret. The Reid Orchard market workers are very good matchmakers. “We’re guaranteed to have SOMETHING old, very hard/crunchy and tart. The Albemarle Pippin (which Jefferson grew) is around a while.” Reid Orchard has over 60 antique apple varieties planted, so you’ll have plenty to choose from throughout the season.