Arkansas Black Twig Apples

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.

6 responses to “Arkansas Black Twig Apples

  1. Reid Orchard is the bomb, son. Their Honeycrips are awesome as is their variety of ciders. Very, very happy their at our Mt. Pleasant market.

  2. I thought the people that ran BFM and the Mt. Pleasant market were mostly the same. Is that the case?

  3. Robin Shuster runs BFM and the 14th & U market. I think that the Mt P market is run by a different person or group — but I do recall that they used to be colleagues or something. Probably similar vendors and idea sharing.

  4. In NYC I can occasionally get my hands on Cox Orange Pippin. Unbelievable if you can find them.

    Also, Goldrush is tart and crisp–out of this world and should roll out in a couple of weeks.

  5. your post read like a lovely story!

    one of the apple~sellers at the bloomingdale market, had jars of pumpkin butter! you could spread it on thin slices of apples….and it was lovely.

    i recommend the pumpkin butter! i think it would be delicious on just~baked cornbread!
    perfect at this time of year.

  6. Don’t listen to Amanda’s lies. Arkansas Blacks are completely disappointing, moderately juicy and respectably crisp, admittedly, but tart? not hardly.

    You want a good fucking apple, you want something like an Ashmead’s Kernel or a Pink Pearl. Quality shit right there, actual real tartness married to awesome apple flavor.

    Arkansas Black—feh. Shiny mediocrity.

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