The fog was just starting to clear off the tops of the apple trees on a recent morning when I sat down with Cynthia Chiles of Carter Mountain Orchard.—Christy Baker
When is the best time to pick?
Well, the season has already started and we have apples to pick all of the way until almost Thanksgiving. Our peak is mid-October. We are open seven days a week and weekends are always busier. Different varieties ripen at different times so some people will time their visit towards [when a particular variety is ripe].
How many apples do I one need for an apple pie?
Six or eight.
What are some differences between a good eating apple and a good baking apple?
Any apple that you like to eat, you can do anything with. It’s a little bit of a myth that you need a Granny Smith to make an apple pie. I find that anything I make—a pie, applesauce, apple butter—I mix apples. Some of the later apples are more firm. They hold their shape a little bit better.
What about bobbing?
An autumn tradition, bobbing for apples originated in Ireland in the 1800s. In June 2010, Ashrita Furman set the world record for apple bobbing with her total of 34 apples bobbed in one minute.
What are some local favorites?
Our most popular are Jonagold, which are in season right now, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Mr. Jefferson’s Albemarle Pippin.
MAKE IT AT HOME
Whip up a classic Italian Torta di Mele (apple tart) in a flash, thanks to the wonders of modern technology.—Meredith Barnes
Place one egg, 3/4 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, and the zest of one lemon in a food processor and hit “start.” Quickly add 1 1/2 sticks melted butter, flour/yeast mixture (2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 tbs. active dry yeast), 1 tsp. vanilla and 6 tbs. milk. Process until a soft dough forms.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 10" cake pan, tapping out the excess flour. Spread the dough across the bottom of the prepared pan until level.
Deeply score four tart apples, peeled, cored and halved, in a grid pattern. Place one half in the center of the dough and arrange the remaining halves in a circular pattern. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Meanwhile, combine the 2 tbs. apricot preserves and 2 tbs. water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted. Remove tart from oven, brush with preserves and bake for another three minutes. Serve warm.