Pink Pearl Apples
I didn’t have the slightest interest in going to farmer’s markets when I lived in the country. Since I moved to the city, I can’t resist them. I’ll wader around squeezing peaches, plucking tomatoes, staring at piles of waxy red peppers, and day-dreaming about all the things I can slather with jewel-toned jam. Now when I visit upstate, I keep an eye out for roadside stands selling super fresh produce.
A couple weeks ago at the Montgomery Place farm stand outside Red Hook I spotted a bucket of “our own” pink pearl apples, all pale green with just a faint flush under the surface. The sign assured me that this apple was beautiful on the inside, so I took one home and did a little Googling. Pink Pearl is an heirloom apple, first developed in Northern California in 1944. An heirloom, or antique plant is typically an older variety that was never grown for large-scale agricultural use, and that relies open open pollination from insects or wind. Heirloom apples tend to be less attractive, or abundant, or hardy than supermarket moneymakers like Granny Smith and McIntosh, but there are hundreds of varieties (there used to be thousands), many boasting unique colors, textures and flavors.
Despite its dull exterior, my pink pearl apple had crisp, juicy, white flesh ribboned with gorgeous streaks of pink. Its taste was precariously balanced between sweet and tart, but in a good way, like lemonade. These apples ripen in late summer, before you’re even thinking about of apples, and only hang around for three or four weeks, so it’s not likely that I’ll get another Pink Pearl this year. That is, unless someone’s got the lowdown on a stash here in NYC.
Montgomery Place Orchards Farm Market
intersection of 9G and 199 in Red Hook (about 100 miles north of NYC) (845) 758-6338
Next to Bubby’s Burritos!