The new in the old, November 7, 2005

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Saturday night and my kids are stuffing ice packs in their shirts. I am FREEEEZING!!! they yell while running around and laughing wildly. How wonderful to feel so excited by such simple, new things. How many times I have daydreamed about jumping out of my office ecstatically proclaiming to the team: Look at what WhiteOut can do! or The paperclip worked again! When we keep learning new things, life can surprise us and wake us up. Sometimes you have to consciously whack-yourself on the side of the head in order to look at the same thing differently. Take the Arkansas Black Apples for example. We featured these in the newsletter last week and this week we were lucky enough to get them again but from a different grower. This week, the dark purple Heirloom apples, first found in Benton County, Arkansas in 1870, are from Bierwagens farm in the foothills outside of Grass Valley, California. It is interesting to compare last weeks apple with this weeks. They are the same variety but the taste is slightly different. Let me explain.
I believe that fruit grows and tastes differently based on the region. The wine industry is the original pro at defining this. The concept of appellation has helped consumers understand what the growing region and general conditions are in a given area. Those two things, along with weather and other variables, relate to the quality and taste of a given wine. I have always wondered why the fruit industry does not take a lead from the wine growers on this issue. Wine is produced from fruit and although we ask where a particular wine may come from, we do not ask what region table grapes or any other fruit are grown in.
This week is your chance to do a comparison. Last week the Arkansas Black Apple (the dark purple one with a lopsided shape) came from Walkers Apple farm outside of Sebastopol where elevation is about 120 feet above sea level. The climate is northern coastal and we are familiar with the mix of cool, fog and sun that other Bay Area growers experience. The Arkansas Black apples this week are from a farm with an elevation over 2,000 feet where the farmer works 30 acres and has to worry about frost and other weather issues that do not affect us down in this region. I find the taste different between the two farms. The higher elevation apples were harvested later and receive a better distribution of sun. You will notice they are a deeper purple and the cherry taste comes through more evenly in the fruit. Walkers apples had a nice mix of tart and sweet while these are more sweet than tart. Both farms apples are great but it is nice to pick up on the nuances of different growers and understand that land and weather still (and hopefully will always) have a great impact on the experience of eating. Share with friends! Enjoy and be fruitful!


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Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.