Here’s how to bake the best apple pie ever.
1. Go for a drive on the far side of the lake towards Fintry. Be curious. Stop.
First Growth Apple Orchard Gone to Roses and Elders…
and mud. Don’t forget the mud. This is Ewing in early October 2012.
2. Wander around. Taste a few seedling apples growing here and there. Let the rain run down your neck. Find this:
Apples Just Out of Reach
I jumped up and down. I worked my fingers along the branches, and eventually I got a taste. It tasted like … a bottle of apple cider in my hand. You know, the kind of stuff made by people who chisel a hole out of the mountain and keep it there in the dark and check on it once in awhile when the snow blows.
3. Dream. Remember this:
Cider Tree Smelling So Sweet
Darling of the Sun, Taste of the Earth, Beloved of the Sky, Elixir of… well, you get the idea.
4. Go back mid-March to get some grafting wood. Find this:
Black bears like apple cider, too. Good to know! Our brothers and sisters have taste and class, because this one left the other trees alone. So did I. Bah. But I think the bear who did this might do well to learn to climb a ladder.
5. Dream some more.
6. Graft it at home.
Spring, 2013. The Fintry Apple Grafted onto a Transparent.
Note: the transparents from those blossoms were great.
7. Grow a tree. Tend it carefully. Bend the branches down and tip the ends to encourage early fruiting. Dream.
8. It grows, winter comes, you wait. You dream of apple cider.
9. Spring comes, with blossoms. You get a couple dozen apples. Amazing! Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
10. Finally, it’s late September, 2014, you pick an apple, and … it tastes exquisite, but it’s way too soft for cider. It’s an old, soft variety, not a juice-laden marvel.
11. Make apple sauce. Aha! It’s just as good as Transparent apple sauce, which is high praise indeed.
12. Make an apple pie for friends. (Shortening, flour, salt, water, apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, you know the drill. Easy does it.) It’s tart, it’s rich, it’s sweet, it’s really grand. Everyone is pleased. If we want a processing industry, and the best apple pie in the world, this is our baby.
These darlings are about 2 inches in diameter, and oh-so-fine.
So far, four people and one bear have enjoyed the Fintry apple. Oh my, that just won’t do.