I just received 12 cases of locally grown gravs for pie baking. If not busy enough with catering (August is one of the busiest months of the year), I also belong to a women’s group and one of our annual fundraisers is fresh made Gravenstein apple pies. It's a great recipe with a hand made crust and crumble topping. The hope is to sell 200 hundred this year- so far 125 and counting.
The best part of this is the smell of the apples. My husband would say it's the smell of the apple pies, but having grown up in Sonoma County the last week of July or first week of August was a reason to celebrate; Mom would head out to Sebastopol to see if she could get a case of apples just before the sugar count was high enough. The apples have to be to a certain sugar level to be considered ripe enough to sell, but Mom liking a tart apple pie wanted them just a bit green. While at the produce stand we always got to have an apple pop - do you remember these? Frozen Gravenstein apple juice in a cup with a popsicle stick inserted that you would turn out to be a frozen treat. Treat to you but mess to everyone else, melting faster than you could eat it, in the car, and of course you threw the cup away at the produce stand so now it's melting and dripping down your hand and on your clothes.
Though Sebastopol is only 15-20 minutes from Petaluma the drive seemed so long, and after about 10 minutes I wanted to be home starting on the apples. Yes even as a kid I couldn't wait to get into the kitchen.
Now when we got home the work began, peeling all of the apples. Would we freeze them, make pies or make apple sauce? Watching as the apple was peeled and just hoping that the peel would not break so you could sit and eat it like spaghetti.
Thanks to the local food movement the Gravenstein is being elevated to the level it used to be and hopefully will be here for generations to come. For now I get to enjoy their perfume in my walk-in for the week.