Apparently I left out the graphics for the National Weather Service’s Winter Forecast from the December 20th newsletter. I sent out this morning a revised newsletter with the graphics included. Please check your email. I am also repeating the graphics here.
YES WE ARE OPEN TODAY!
There still isn’t any ice on Pickerel Lake, even along the shore in front of our home. Swan’s and ducks seem to be enjoying the open water. While open water on Pickerel Lake on Christmas Day has happened before, I do not remember any year that skim ice never made any appearance near the shore by our dock, which is still out, this late in December.
What we will be having today:
APPLES including Fuji, Jonagold, Northern Spy, Idared, Granny Smith, Roman Beauty, Blushing Golden, Splendor, Calville Blanc, Red Gold, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Crispin/Mutsu, Hawaii, and Kandil Sinap.
Want to know what apples keep the longest? Here is a list of our best keeping apples we still have available, starting with the best keeper (and descriptions of each):
Fuji — Fuji has firm, fine-grained sweet flesh. However, the outstanding characteristic of Fuji is that it keeps so well. Unlike most apples, you can put Fuji in a fruit bowl on your table and leave it there for up to two or three weeks and it still is nice and crisp. Another interesting thing about the tree itself is that the leaves stay nice and green well into November. I remember one sunny and mild November day when I was out picking Fuji and it seemed like it was the middle of summer with the sun glistening off the shiny green leaves! On the same day the Mac trees were practically bare and the few remaining leaves on the Jonathan trees were mostly yellowish-green. Fuji was developed in Japan and originally named Tohoko #7. Its parents are Red Delicious and Ralls Janet—both American apples
Idared — A great keeping, good sized apple with a strong apple flavor. Idared is a Jonathan and Wagner cross that is great for sauce and pies. We especially favor this apple in late winter and early spring since it usually is still in great shape.
Splendor — A New Zealand apple that is a cross between Red Dougherty and Golden Delicious. It is very sweet with good flavor. It is a dark pink apple with crisp, breaking, white flesh. The skin is thin and it can be fairly easily bruised, so is no longer available in food markets, but it does store quite well. You may well find Splendor included in fancy gift packs.
Blushing Golden — Discovered by R Griffith of Cobden, Illinois and introduced in 1968 by Stark Brothers Nursery. It is believed to be a Jonathan and Golden Delicious cross, Blushing Golden has firm flesh and tastes similar to a Golden Delicious. It is, however, tarter than Golden Delicious AND keeps a lot, lot better. In fact, if you bite into a Blushing Golden in January, you’d swear it was just picked!
Granny Smith — Granny Smith comes to us from “Down Under.” According to tradition, this apple originated in a pile of discarded apples Mrs. Smith threw into a pile. Since the original Granny Smith takes so long to ripen, we grow an early strain of the original Granny Smith called Granspur. The primary feature of Granny Smith is that it keeps unbelievably well. Of course, one simple reason for this is that it is usually picked in November, at least in Michigan. Many recipes in magazines, on TV shows and contemporary cookbooks often call for Granny Smith apples because, I believe, they find it really difficult to find Spy apples which are actually better for baking.
I first heard about the Granny Smith apple from my sister when she was living with her husband in England in the mid 60s. It was her recommendation that led us to plant our first Granny Smith apple. She told me that was the crispest and best tasting apple she could buy there. Apparently they received most of their Granny Smith apples from Australia and no doubt that during England’s spring and summer they are the freshest apples available (remember England’s and Australia’s seasons are reversed).
REMEMBER you can mix and match any apples for only $4 a 2-qt box or $10 a 1/2 bushel!
WE ALSO HAVE WINTER SQUASH: Buttercup (sweet and rich and can be substituted for pumpkin puree for your pumpkin pies!), Heart of Gold (a sweet dumpling hybrid), and Celebration (an acorn hybrid that is much sweeter than your normal green acorn). KEEP IN MIND that winter squash only get sweeter the longer they sit around. Their starches continue to turn to sugar and is one of the reasons why some squash can be stored well into the winter months. They are only 50 cents each/ 5 for $2 right now or if you are looking for larger quantities they are $7 a half bushel.
Popcorn: By Christmas our popcorn on the ear should be ready to pop! See this link HERE for an interesting article on Michigan popcorn.
SAND-GROWN POTATOES: Red Norland potatoes (red skin with white flesh): We have them in quarts, quarter pecks, 1/2 pecks, and 1/2 bushels. The 1/2 bushels are only $10 each or $18 a bushel. Kennecbec (white skin, white flesh) are $6 a peck backet. Yukon Gold (yellow skin, gold flesh) are $6 a 1/2 peck. (See bottom of this post for potato salad recipe!)
Dried Gourds for crafting and birdhouses:
Check out Bernadette’s website where she shares many tips and techniques on gourd crafting, including how-to videos!
Handcrafted Christmas Gifts:
Both Rebekah and Bernadette do custom orders! Contact them through their Etsy shop or email them.