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Support Local: Apple Fest meets all your apple needs

By Jared Davidson on October 15, 2015

If you’re anything like me, you know there’s more to apples than what’s on offer at the typical chain grocer. They come in more varieties than red and green. There are those who pursue the many types of apple, learn to distinguish the variety by its texture and taste, and learn their best pairings, as one would with a bottle of wine. These are the apple connoisseurs.

And, while you won’t need to be an apple connoisseur to appreciate Apple Fest, there is no doubt that there will be a few of them there, ringing in apple season properly.

Apple Fest is a part of our rather food-themed Support Local Month. It promises to bring apples in all styles and forms to the grounds of the Museum of Nature this Saturday the 17th. Put on by the Main Street Farmers’ Market, who have temporarily moved locations due to construction near St. Paul’s, it will feature everything apple—pies, preserves, tarts, vinegars, preserves, and of course, fresh, local apples. David Coyne, co-manager of the farmer’s market (and who will be providing the festival with potato pancakes covered with sage apple compote. Delicious!), points out that local apples are a cut above those brought in from afar.

“Local apples are harvested once they are ripe,” said Coyne, “as opposed to grocery store apples which are harvested underripe and are left to ripen slowly in storage.”

That gives local apples an advantage in nutrients as well as flavour. Additionally, buying local apples supports local farmers, many of which will be attending Apple Fest to bring you the finest of this year’s crop. From Spartans and McIntoshes to Cortlands and Galas, all the seasonal favourites will be there, as well as some surprise mystery varietals. Coyne is himself an apple connoisseur. He loves apples and knows that certain apples work best in certain concoctions.

“Give me a Cortland for proud pies with robust apple flavour, Gala for slaws, and McIntosh for jelly,” said Coyne. “These days I can’t get enough of Avanmore’s Cortlands to eat out of hand. They have a slight starchiness that makes them so substantial, and a perfect balance of sweet and tart.”

In addition to the apples, there will also be crafts, face painting, and music. And of course, if you’re interested in attending the farmer’s market to get something other than apples, there will be plenty of seasonal produce and meats for the choosing.

The Main Street Farmer’s Market is a non-profit market that is 75% agricultural and is dedicated to helping to address food security issues. This year, they’ve already put on two food based festivals: Corn Fest and Tomato Fest. Both were huge successes and brought many people out to appreciate seasonal local foods.

For their final market of the year, they’ll be hosting the Medieval Knights who will be fighting in full armour in front of the Museum of Nature. There will also be pumpkin decorating, music, and costumed vendors. It’s great to see a local farmer’s market having so much fun with the community.

Apple Fest takes place at the Museum of Nature on Saturday October 17, 2015. Be sure to check out the rest of the Support Local happenings at our Support Local page.