Sourcing Apples

jennieboyer(8)October 12, 2012

Hi All - I hope this is the correct forum - if not, please feel free to point me elsewhere.

I am wanting to do applesauce to make apple butter, but can't find a local source of apples other than the grocery store. They are currently $1.00 per pound there. How does this compare to what you are seeing at markets?

Are grocery store apples OK, or are they too commercial (ie waxed, etc)?



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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Compared to prices here $1 per pound is a great price for some of the more unusual varieties but a high price for the common varieties. Here all the prices tend to fall once the in-season demand falls off so maybe waiting a few weeks to buy them will find better costs.

No local pick-your-own or farmer's markets?

Don't know where you live but I would assume that prices will be best in apple-growing regions. No added shipping costs.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:51AM
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Hi Dave,

I'm in South Georgia. I can't find a single pick your own for anything but strawberries and blueberries! And our farmer's market is every other Saturday around the courthouse square. It's really a "hobby market" where folks bring what they grow in small backyard gardens. Quality is good, but quantity/price not so much!

I am thinking that the week of Thanksgiving is when I want to do this, so I can wait a few weeks and keep an eye out. Thanks for the reply!


    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 1:11PM
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sos_acres(Z5 SE IA)

Probably not what you are wanting to do, but my mil uses applesauce to make apple bought or home canned.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 2:00PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Jennie - if you can get Gala or Fuji or one of the other more unusual and better varieties at $1 per pound now I'd sure buy them. You want a variety of different types to make the best sauce/butter anyway and you don't want to just use the old standard "delicious" types.

They will keep for several weeks.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 2:22PM
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I'd peel the store-bought apples in case they're waxed. $1/lb is good here - bad apple harvest this year.

I did look on pickyourown, they list some apple orchards in GA, don't know if any are near you. HTH

Here is a link that might be useful: GA Apples

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 4:50PM
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I would think craigslist in your area might be a good tool. Post a wanted ad for apples you might have to pick them yourself, it could be a good source for the next years harvest also.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 11:12AM
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What you need to do is move to Wisconsin.

I just picked up another 2 bushels of seconds at the orchards in Gays Mills for $16 a bushel - Cortland and Haralson. That's about 40 cents a pound. They have 30 or more varieties and the price is the same across all them. I'd say better than 70% of the apples are eating quality. I've talked with the owner and she told me I could pick up windfalls in the orchard for $4 a bushel. Of course, windfalls are only ideal for shredding into cider and juice. I don't have the equipment - YET - to make cider. When I do, I'm gonna make and can juice like craaaazzzyy. I also am gonna plant my own half dozen or dozen trees.

From what I've seen at supermarkets, $1 a pound is pretty cheap. Galas are on sale for $1.99 a pound at the local Piggly Wiggly.

Kayrae has a good idea as well - Search CL for apples for sale. If you don't find any, post a CL ad.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:30AM
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Here in NE Ohio, apples are $1/lb at the grocery store, $0.80/lb at the orchard. No pick your own this year :(

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:49AM
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OK, so here's the question. The apples at the grocery that are $1.00 lb are simply labeled "New York Apples". They don't have a specific type on them other than that. Any idea what this means and whether they might make good apple butter? Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 11:21AM
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I'd probably just buy a few of the New York apples and try them. I'd make a small sample batch of apple sauce or apple butter and see if I liked it. Yes, its extra work, but better than ending up with many jars of something that no one wants to eat.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 12:36PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Do they all look like the same apple? No mixed varieties? Acc. to the NY Apple Growers Asso. they only use that label on mixed variety bags. Link below is to pics of the varieties they include so you may be able to ID them from the pics.

Otherwise I'd contact the produce manager at the market and ask what the crate label was vs. the label he put on them.

If they are mixed varieties then they should be fine for applesauce/applebutter.


Here is a link that might be useful: NY Apple Country variety pics

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 3:45PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I am paying 48 cents a lb. for Fuji apples on sale. Most others are $1 a lb. Prices are supposed to go up a dollar per pound due to low crops.
I was also blessed with 2 boxes free apples. I made applesauce from them.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 2:27PM
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OK, here's what I found out - they apples are in plastic bags labeled "macintosh", but I'm sure they are a variety. They are different sizes and colors. I bought some and the apple butter is cooking now :-)

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:47AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yes, McIntosh is a specific variety just as in the link I posted above. And of course within a variety you will have slightly different sizes and slightly different shades of color.

Does McIntosh make good apple butter? Sure but it is more juicy than some others and so requires more cooking down or an added thickener. And it is more tart in flavor so some need to add more sugar. And it's a bit different in color than that made with some of the other varieties.

Each different variety of apple results in a different flavor and color applesauce or apple butter. So if you stick with using just one variety each batch will taste different depending on the variety used. Everyone has their personal favorites thus the common suggestion to make both applesauce and apple butter using a mix of varieties as it results in a more balanced flavor.

If you go to the link above and click on each named variety you can read about the characteristics of each.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 12:45PM
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Farmer boy:

I am confused why you think windfalls are only good for cider not making applesauce. I use windfalls for applesauce.

I have several apple trees but most are still young and not bearing a lot yet. We have a local orchard near me that sells u-pick windfalls for $5 a bushel. Every year
I go there and get a bushel for sauce. We make and freeze the sauce. Usually we get about 13 quarts from our bushel of windfalls. Yes they have a bruise from falling off the tree but we cut that out when we peel and core the fruit.

$5 a bushel? I cannot grow them for that price. This year
not available as few apples around here due to numerous spring frosts.

I just want to point out that FRESH windfalls harvested soon after falling off the tree while they are still firm and not over-ripe are a cheap source of apples for those who want to can/freeze or cook with them. I prefer to use
McIntosh or Cortland for my sauce but many varieties work well for this task and everyone seems to have a preference
on what variety is best.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 5:16PM
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I agree that windfalls are a cheap source for apples and can be used for sauce. I didn't say they were ONLY good for cider. I said they were ideal for cider. Windfalls tend to be more bruised and have more damage from insects. A scratter doesn't care if the apples it's shredding are damaged. I use a peeler/corer/slicer when making sauce and it doesn't like apples that are damaged. Sometimes it doesn't even like seconds.

I've done 3 bushels of sauce this year and got just about the same yield as you - 26 pints. Do you drive all the way over here to Gay's Mills, or do you have some nice orchards near you?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 12:27AM
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Sorry, perhaps I read your message wrong. I am near Milwaukee so I no longer get to Gays Mills. Years ago
when I lived in SE Minnesota, I went there every fall with
friends. Fantastic area as so many large orchards. Of course, things change and a few of those orchards are no longer in business but still a fantastic area with all the
varieties of apples they offer. My favorite places were
Sunrise and Flemings. The display tree at Flemings with
over 20 different apple varieties grafted on it was a sight
to see.

I also recall some fantastic bargains on seconds on apples
as Sunrise. Beautiful NW Greening seconds that were great
for pies and at a very low price.

My hobby orchard of 20 assorted fruit trees produced
8 bushel of apples last year. Most of the trees are young
and non-bearing yet. I have apples, peaches, cherries, plum and pears. In a few years I will have no need to go
to my local orchard for windfalls for sauce as I hope to have too many of my own.

We have local orchards here but many have been developed into subdivisions the past 15 years, at least until the housing market crashed. Big shortage of orchards here.

Gays Mills is worth the drive to anyone near there. I strongly encourage those lucky enough to live near it to
go. The absolute best selection and the star apple growing
area of WI.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 12:07PM
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