Buy a Box; Save an Apple

Share this post

gravensteins Gravenstein apple. 

Like the snowy owl and the snail darter, foods can be endangered too.

If farmers stop growing your favorite variety of tomato because it’s too hard to ship or too prone to pests, we come that much closer to a bland, unified way of eating and, in the case of the loss of fruit and vegetable varieties, a shrinking of biodiversity that can have a wide ranging impact on the environment and our food supply.

Slow Food USA, the U.S. arm of the global grassroots organization, champions local foods, traditional food cultures, heritage foods, and heirloom crops through its Foundation for Biodiversity and Presidia program, which support production and marketing of artisan food products.

Apples on the Ark
Slow Food's “Ark of Taste” promotes culturally important foods in danger of extinction. One of those foods is the Sebastopol Gravenstein apple, a tart green and red-striped apple prized especially for baking. Once dominant in Sonoma County, according to Paula Shatkin, co-leader of Slow Food Russian River, and the coordinator of the Gravenstein Apple Presidium, the number of acres grown of the apple has dwindled to 467. Slow Food notes that part of the reason is that the Grav is tough to harvest (short stems), but also area land once covered with apple orchards has been given over to more profitable vineyards, as well as real estate development.

Volunteers from the local Slow Food Russian River chapter and farmers have banded together to promote the Gravenstein as an exemplar of biodiversity and local food security. Since 2006, The FruitGuys has supported these efforts by offering a special Gravenstein box for sale each August with 16 percent of the proceeds going back to Gravenstein farmers to help keep this heirloom apple thriving. Click here for details on how to order your own box of these rare heritage apples.

Gravensteinsarecoming Sebastopol, CA. 

A symbol of Sonoma County’s agricultural heritage, the Gravenstein apple features a complex mix of sweet and sharp flavors that is fabulous for eating out of hand, baking into a great pie, making crisp, delicious apple sauce, or squeezing into a glass of refreshing apple juice. The Gravenstein’s hometown of Sebastopol has taken on the mission of saving this heirloom apple from obscurity. The 41st annual Gravenstein Apple Fair will be held this August 9–10 in Sebastopol’s Ragle Ranch Park. The family fair features live music, agricultural demos, and the legendary Gravenstein Apple Pie baking and eating contest.

“Slow Food Russian River and it's Apple Corps group of volunteers participates in and promotes the Gravenstein Fair each year to help spread awareness of the goodness and usefulness and cultural and agricultural heritage of this amazing and versatile apple. This year, we will be pressing fresh Gravenstein juice at the fair and serving free samples. We will be handing out informational materials about who grows them and where to buy them, and displaying locally made products using Gravensteins,” Shatkin told The FruitGuys Almanac.

Buy a Box; Save the Gravs!

lee walker gravenstein farmer Apple farmer Lee Walker. 

Support the Slow Food Gravenstein Apple Presidium by ordering The Gravenstein Apple Box, a project of Slow Food Russian River and The FruitGuys. Available for Tuesday–Thursday delivery the weeks of August 11 and 18 only. For FREE delivery in most areas in California, Order Online. For deliveries outside of California (shipping charges may apply), please call customer service at 877-FRUIT-ME (877-378-4863).

Miriam Wolf is a Portland-based health coach and the editor of The FruitGuys Almanac newsletter.

Leave a comment


Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required


Recent The FruitLife articles:

Beehives, swales, and vermicomposting, oh my!
April 29, 2019
Spring fruit varieties and how to enjoy them
April 16, 2019
A tribute to the “Lemon Lady” of Redwood City
March 11, 2019
The FruitGuys New Year’s poem
January 8, 2019
Sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship
October 31, 2018
Give the delicious gift of farm-fresh fruit and healthy snacks
October 4, 2018
Summer to fall transition brings new fruit into the rotation
October 2, 2018
Bring some fruitful fun to your workplace on Tuesday, October 2
September 27, 2018
Farmer suicide is a public health threat and could hurt our food supply
August 14, 2018
How to keep your favorite fruit fresh through the summer heat
July 19, 2018

More recent articles:

Best onboarding practices
May 21, 2019
Quick, easy steps to spruce up your office space
May 14, 2019
Grilled portobello recipe
May 9, 2019
How to prepare physically and mentally for race day
May 9, 2019
Three simple ways to enjoy watermelon radishes
May 2, 2019
Easy spring salad recipe
April 25, 2019
Reduce plastic use with these earth-friendly alternatives
April 22, 2019
History of the tomato
April 18, 2019
How to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet
April 11, 2019
How fostering psychological safety increases performance
April 8, 2019

About Us

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.