When September comes around, I start planning my apple schedule for prime picking of golden delicious, McIntosh, Jonathan, Jonagold, red delicious, winesap, and Rome. Each peaks at different points in the season and I want the apples at the peak of perfection for whatever I happen to be inspired to make.
This time last year, I discovered a hidden jewel for my apple wants in Owen County, on a hilltop overlooking the Kentucky River: Ayres Orchard.
Last year, I took my first bite of an Ayres Orchard Jonagold and I was hooked. No other apple orchard would do, so when Larry Ayres, owner of Ayres Orchard, told me it was almost time to pick a few weeks ago, I began my plan of apple action.
The McIntosh started ripening a week or so ago, so they’re huge and ready for apple sauces and puréed, especially for cakes. Today’s visit revealed apple trees laden with fruit so heavy with sugar and juice that boughs bend under that delicious weight.
Larry tells me the golden and red delicious will be perfect next week so I will wait with baited breath to get my eating apple fix. He also said red delicious are one of the healthiest eating apples because of their thicker skin. The red delicious glows ruby on the bough and shines in the sun, almost too beautiful to eat but no. I took a bite into a sparkling ruby and the sweetness burst across my tongue.
I can’t remember a more perfect apple than the ones I pick from Ayres Orchard. This season’s harvest is delicious and I can’t wait to pick more.