I made a trip this week to a yet-unvisited farm stand -- Sapowsky Farms Roadside Stand on Rt 202. Rumour had it, and their roadside sign confirmed, that they had had Honeycrisp apples earlier in the season, and to date, Honeycrisp are my favourite eating apples.
Honeycrisps are out of season now -- they are an early apple. However, the farm stand did have 5-lb bags of "sauce apples" for $3 per bag. When I queried the manager about the kind of apple in the bag, she informed me that they were Zestar apples -- an apple I had never tried and had only once heard the name of. I asked her to elaborate -- what's the texture, the flavour -- in other words, why a good sauce apple?
Zestars, I was informed, are juicy and sweet with a firm flesh that softens easily, making them great cooking and canning apples. I bought 2 bags.
Friday, I finally canned applesauce, and this is what I learned this year -- 5 lbs of zestar apples makes 4 pints of sweet applesauce, no sugar needed. Zestars can get a little mealy, and when they do, they begin to peel themselves (very odd, I thought). But they still make a great applesauce, and I'm hoping Sapowsky's has another bag or two available when I get back there this week.
(Last year I loved Macouns for applesauce, and I intend on using them again this year when I find the right price, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try new apples, and I'm glad I did.)
Sapowsky's has more than just apples of course. As of mid-week, they had Cortlands & Macs for $1.29/lb and Macouns for $1.69/lb. They also had goldens, red delicious, and galas. Their own tomatoes ran at $1.99/lb, with a quart for $2.49. They also had bushels of decorative gourds for 2/$1, cabbage, lettuce, squash, pots and pots of mums, a few baked goods -- and a friendly little Corgi, who was not for sale.