There have been a number of pleasant surprises about living in the Appalachian high country in North Carolina. That there are few bugs including mosquitoes, makes sitting on the deck in the evenings pleasant. That there aren’t snakes under every rock, log, leaf, or bush is a relief. And who knew that this area is the apple capital of the South?
I’ve been going regularly to the Watauga County Farmers’ Market since we moved here. After years of living in produce poor Wyoming, I’ve loved being able to buy fresh, local produce which we gobble up. Relishing the changes in what’s ready in the gardens as the season progresses. The past couple of weeks have seen the addition of brightly colored peppers, okra and apples. The apples are wonderful. I have lived away from an area where apples grow well so long that I forgot the taste difference between locally grown, recently picked and store bought. The difference is as striking as that of homegrown and hothouse tomatoes. And as tasty.
It’s delightful to have the juice run down my chin as my teeth snap a bite off one of these North Carolina apples. And the varieties! So many I can’t remember them all. There are the common ones, red and yellow Delicious, Gala, MacIntosh, Jonagold and Granny Smith as well as lesser known Cameo, Honey Crisp, Roma, and Cortlands. There are kinds I have not heard of Sweet Sixteen, Mutsu, Stayman and Tydeman’s Red and more. One vendor told me that they raise one hundred varities in their orchards. I can hardly eat the one’s I bring home from the market fast enough. How would anyone get through a hundred kinds?