Alexandrians who visit the Del Ray Farmer’s Market on Saturdays are familiar with many varieties of apples that are not readily available in supermarkets in this area. That’s because they arrive fresh from the Toigo Orchards in Shippensburg, Penn.
Toigo grows 25 different types of apples. “We begin picking the apples in August and harvest them until around now,” said Vaclav Trnka, a Toigo employee. Toigo supplies Farmer’s markets throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
“We try to introduce market customers to new varieties of apples,” Trnka said. “While the old favorites such as Golden Delicious and Red Delicious are available in the larger grocery stores, we do not have them.”
The most popular apple grown at Toigo is the Fuji. “This is a sweet apple that is good for eating,” Trnka said. “It is pink and white and is firm.”
Another Toigo product that is very popular is the Mutsu/crispin. “This is a green apple that is both tart and sweet and is great for either cooking or just for enjoying by itself,” Trnka said.
The Honey Crisp has just recently become popular. “We have been growing this apple for years but no one really knew about it until recently when it received a lot of publicity,” Trnka said. “Again, it is sweet and tart and is nicely shaped. People seem to really like it once they try it.”
Right now, Toigo is harvesting Granny Smith apples. “These are very popular,” Trnka said. “They are very tart and are great for making pies.”
Toigo supplies the Del Ray Farmer’s Market with many other fruits, including berries and peaches. They also grow green house tomatoes. “We really operate between May and around Christmas,” Trnka said. “After that, it’s too cold to grow even the tomatoes.”
UNTIL CHRISTMAS, however, check out the produce from Toigo at the Del Ray Farmer’s market. They even have four different types of spaghetti sauce and tomato soups that they make from the tomatoes that do not sell each week.
For those who are looking for a good apple recipe, try these apple drop cookies from Pastrywhiz.com and baked apples from Alice Krafft of Alexandria.
Apple Spice Drop Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple juice
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg
1 cup apples, peeled (2 Granny Smiths), finely chopped
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3-4 Tbs. Apple juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a mixing bowl cream the butter and the sugars together. Beat in the egg and apple juice. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and gradually add the dry ingredients to the minx and then add the apples and walnuts.
Place on a greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes or until golden brown.
Frosting: add the sugar, butter, vanilla and apple juice together and mix until smooth.
1 apple per serving
Core apples and set in a baking dish.
Into each apple put a teaspoon or two of brown sugar depending on the tartness of the apple.
Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg.
Fill the core with raisons.
Cover the bottom of the baking dish with boiling water.
Bake at 400 degrees until soft (30 minutes or more)
Several times during the baking spoon the pan juices over the apples.