Apple Season!

My parents are nature lovers. They felt it was their parental duty to alert my sister and I to the joy of the outdoor world, so they signed us up for tons of guided nature walks when we were kids. By far the most memorable of these walks was one in Point Reyes where the leader stopped, pointed at dried animal scat on the trail, and shrieked, “Something special! Something special!”

We quoted this poor woman for years afterwards, pointing to items that both special (an unusual shell washed up on the beach, for example) and decidedly un-special (say, roadkill) and proclaiming them “Something Special!”.

I had the urge to shout out “Something special!” to all the farmers market shoppers this past Saturday as they blithely walked by the first apples of the season.

Gravenstein apples were back at the market this past Saturday. These apples are special to me because of their short season (they’re only available for about 2 weeks!), and also because they are the first sign of apple season, one of my favorite times of the year.

One college friend still teases me about how thrilled I was when the Pippins appeared at the local Safeway– an event she’d never taken note of before.

When I moved to San Francisco, I started buying apples from our family friend, Stan Devoto, who brings apples and flowers to the Tuesday and Saturday farmers markets. Stan’s family farm, Devoto Gardens, grows antique apples — varieties I’d never seen at my college town Safeway.

If you haven’t tried some of Devoto Gardens’ apples…well, not to overstate it, but your life is incomplete.


The sour Sonoma County Gravensteins are just the beginning. In the next few months, Stan will have apples you’ll probably never seen or tasted.

One of the most mind-blowing are the Pink Pearls. These apples have an opalescent pale pink-colored skin and a shocking pink-colored flesh.

Stan’s sweet Hawaiians, a delicious crisp yellow apple, will prove that not all yellow apples are a mushy mess.

There are giant light green skinned Mutsus, widely sought-after Honeycrisps, and blood-dark Arkansas Blacks.

And this is only the half of it. I’ve learned through years of apple tasting that I prefer a crisp-centered apple (like those noted above). But Stan also grows a variety of more custardy-centered apples that could very well float your boat.


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