Apple Season Is Here!


Even if I knew the world would go to pieces tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. –Martin Luther

Apple season is here! So, that begs the question of what shall we do with our apples this season? Another apple pie? Now, is that what you really want? Or do you want Mojave’s Creamy Goat Cheese and Ha’s Organic Apple Farm’s Honey Crisp apples sliced fresh on the Breadman’s crusty, toasted french baguette drizzled with Bonilla Olive Oil? Oh, yes Baby, yes! Talking California Style to me. Selecting the best apples and finding a new approach to use them is a titilating endeavor for seasonal foodies. It easily sends us into a pleasurable sweat just fantasizing about the possibilities.

Admittedly, there are times, when our seasonal enlightenment has failed us. We crave the cheese and apple thing but it’s mid-summer; we can’t help ourselves and we breakdown. We buy the mealy imported apples, only to find that we are oh so disappointed and now we are faced with the unrealized potential of that good cheese. Will we ever learn?

Well, I’ve never been a big proponent of abstinence, but when it comes to waiting for new crop apples, I make that sacrifice and wait until they return to the California market. Self-righteously, I only eat apples that are grown on the West Coast and when they’re gone, I allow myself a reasonable mourning period and then, I move on to the next season’s offerings.

I eat seasonally for three good reasons: first, that I wanted my kids to eagerly await the first crop of apples, pears, pomegranates, and persimmons in the fall or peaches, watermelon and corn in summer. Waiting for the next seasonal crop is something that I remember and was really excited about as a kid. Not only was it because it was so fresh and delicious, but because both of my parents emphasized what an important event it was — they appreciated it.

I can remember the Hachiya persimmons sitting on the kitchen window sill and asking my mom everyday “are they ready yet, Mommy?” I remember that sweet, sweet moment that we sliced open the bottom and spooned out that distinct soft, juicy rich orange custardy fruit. I can remember that some bites were so smooth while some had that wonderful, satisfying firm morsel that I still savor today.
Second, there is no reason to eat fruits and vegetables shipped and kept in cold storage from thousands of miles away that require millions of gallons of petro to get here. The only excuse would be if you have a medical emergency or a picky toddler on the verge of starving themselves because they will only eat certain produce. The truth is that we gain a much better appreciation of our locally grown crops when we eat seasonally. Children are more receptive to eating “fresh” produce if it’s tree-ripened, flavorful, crispy and juicy. Kids also love to go to the farmer’s market and pick out their foods. Teach them how to do it — it’s like a game and they are learning about food origins and that it’s not spawned from a plastic bag with Sponge Bob on it.

Now, third and for the shameless flag-waving: Most importantly: support your local farmers — without them we don’t eat fresh and healthy! We have a better knowledge and understanding our own agricultural and environmental standards in the United States. There is good reason that we have branded some nonorganic crops “the dirty dozen” and have even been warned that some of the heaviest spraying occurs on imported crops. This is not good for our health or for global health and the supply and demand that we create influences the market.

So now, just waiting for Mr. Hong to show up with his Ha’s Organic Apple Farm apples feels like an eternity. You see, every August, Mr. Ha disappears from our local farmers’ markets. Yes, he has the audacity to go fly fishing while the apple trees are still gestating new crops. So when he returns a couple of weeks later, these arborial treasures sell like hotcakes at the Farmer’s Market. Seriously, I had to learn to be really aggressive to get at these apples because trying to get a space to pick your Ha’s apples is like trying to get a ticket for the Hong Kong Ferry — everybody is rushing the gate and you’re on your own. Mr. Ha and his very handsome son, Peter,(who, for the past ten years, I fantasized that my niece would marry so I would selfishly have a lifetime supply of apples) really try to keep the peace and always make you feel so welcome. They do a good job overlooking that you just elbowed the white-haired lady in the walker next to you to get to those apples. Trust me it’s a dog eat dog world at times when the Fujis first arrive!

Ha’s has limited supplies of their special apples like Winesaps, Mutsu, and Honey Crisp. They are a real treat and the Winesaps are perfectly tart for the quintessential tarte tartin. The Fuji and Gala variety are more plentiful and it’s no problem for me and my two girls each to polish off two to three apples a day and that’s about $20 a week. You’ll find Mr. Hong and his Ha’s Organic Apple Farm Apples at the Torrance Farmer’s Market on Tuesday and Saturday and at the Palos Verdes Farmers’ Market on Sundays. Visit him on the web at and find your local Farmer’s Market at

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