Many of you are from or have been to the East coast, and have experienced the wonderful New England autumn. The leaves are bright red and orange as you head north out of the city, and the air smells dry and cool and sweet.
Every year, my family picked apples for a day, and had apples through the winter. We kept bushels of them (literally) in our unheated back porch room, where they stayed crisp and fresh. We'd make pies, butters and applesauce, apple cakes and apple tarts, raw apples on toast and dried apples in oatmeal.
While I haven't had a chance to pick apples out here, I have been kept well-stocked by Devoto Gardens and Rainbow Orchards at the farmers market. Head to Devoto ($3/lb.) if you're jonesing for a tart, obscenely crunchy apple, the kind that was picked a few hours before market. Head to Rainbow for your baking apples ($1-2/lb), and gallons of fresh, unpasteurized cider ($10/gal).
And if you're headed north, look for a hand-painted, side-of-the-road sign: fresh apples, or u-pick here. Stop. You won't regret it.
Try some apple cider muffins (the donut alternative) this week, featuring Rainbow Orchards cider. Order yours here.