WOW, it’s hot outside! While this heat wave may put a damper on your plans to bask in the sun all weekend, we promise it’s not all bad news. In fact … it’s great news for a certain fuzzy fruit that you’ve been waiting all summer for. You probably know which fruit I’m referring to. Maybe it’s their adorably round heart shape, or their velvety soft skin, or maybe it’s their sunshine yellow flesh, but there are few fruits that elicit summertime excitement quite like a fresh peach.
A blast of heat like the one we’re having this weekend helps peaches develop their sugar content as they ripen (although too much heat would actually halt their development, so everything in moderation). Additionally, the bouts of rain we’ve seen over the past few weeks have aided in adding nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil, while also ensuring that the peaches will be juicy. After all, fruit is made up of mostly water!
So don’t let the heat and rain spells of late get you down. Mother nature has provided the solution to its own problem. Peaches are juicy, indicating that eating them will help keep you hydrated. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium, too, nutrients your body will surely need replenished after even a short time out in the heat. And anytime you eat freshly picked produce grown locally, you’re getting the maximum nutritional benefits from it! Oh yeah, and it tastes amazing.
Different varieties of peaches ripen at different times throughout July, August, and September. The ones we grow typically reach peak ripeness in early August, so we have to be patient for a few more weeks before heading out to pick our own. However, there’s no patience required if you’re like us and in need of an immediate thirst quencher! In the farm store right now, we’re selling peaches from our neighbors at Carlson Orchard in Harvard, MA, where they grow an earlier ripening variety belonging to the Flamin’ Fury breed. This line of peach is freestone, meaning it’s easy to separate the pit from the flesh, with a lovely red and yellow coloration outside, and a bright yellow inside.
With all this in mind, we’ve come to the conclusion that a little heat is worth putting up with for a whole lot ‘o peach later. Stop by the farm if you agree!
You can never go wrong with just a ripe peach and a napkin as your snack. But if you’re looking to try something extra refreshing on this extra hot weekend, here’s an idea for you: Peach Rooibos Iced Tea! It tastes just like Peach Snapple, if you ask me, but without so much sugar, sweetened with only honey. If you make it with rooibos like I did, it’s caffeine-free and packed with antioxidants, but you can absolutely make this with black, green, or white tea and it will be equally thirst quenching.
Who wants to turn on their oven during a summer heat wave? Not us!
Now, salad can get boring, but it definitely does not have to, especially not when July has gifted us with an abundance of early blueberries. They’re practically falling off the bushes right now, begging to be picked and savored. Big, plump blueberries add a burst of sweetness to any number of delicious summer salads.
But the small, slightly tart blueberries found this early in July lend themselves to something even more versatile: a blueberry balsamic vinaigrette. It couldn’t be easier to whip up – and you can use it to dress virtually any salad. Try it on spinach with beets and goat cheese and almonds, or double up on the “blue” with blue cheese and walnuts over kale. Make it a filling meal by adding chicken or salmon.
This recipe will provide enough to keep a jar in the fridge for a couple weeks. That way you can whip it out whenever the heat demands a cool, refreshing, oven-free meal that’s anything but boring.
Here’s the formula:
Simply add everything except the oil to a blender and puree, then add the oil and whiz until fully emulsified.
Tips and variations:
Printable recipe card here:
New England: It’s a central part of our identity as an apple orchard nestled in the hills of North Central Massachusetts. If you grew up in the region, it’s likely a huge part of your identity too, your childhood memories and lingering nostalgia inextricable from its four distinct seasons. At least once in your life, you’ve probably lamented the long winter and threatened to pack up and move to the west coast. These threats are always empty, though. Year after year, we lace up our boots and trudge through the snow, curses silenced by harsh gusts of wind. It’s the kind of torture we’ve grown not just to “put up with,” but deep down, to actually love.
The reason relates to what we’re all going through right now. Because going out in the freezing cold meant a warm mug of hot chocolate later; because the first day of spring would not elicit the same joy without the cold that came before it; and because even the longest winters are sprinkled with moments of beauty and wonder. New England’s seasons are uniquely comforting in their paradoxical constant promise of change. Just as our joy at the taste of freshly picked blueberries is increased knowing that they won’t be available all year, so too is our comfort during bad times increased knowing that nothing lasts forever.
The “19” in “COVID-19” stands as a reminder that our winter is even longer than usual this year. And not just because it snowed twice in May! In a symbolic sense, we’re frozen in December 2019 when the pandemic first began, staying mostly indoors and some putting important life events on hold.
Here on the farm, we’re constantly learning lessons from nature and adapting to its unexpected surprises. This year especially, we’re forced to reckon with our inability to predict or control the pandemic. But we’re no more capable of stopping the pandemic than we’re capable of stopping the miraculous side of nature. This week, the orchard reminded us that in fact, spring has arrived, and soon summer will too. The trees are now in full bloom, and the bees have arrived to play their role in turning those blossoms into delicious fruit. Al even stumbled upon a wild honeybee nest yesterday, a sure sign that our land is as healthy and fruitful as ever.
We eagerly await the day when it’s safe to step into 2020 fully, and to share the upcoming harvest with you in whatever capacity we’re able to! Our mission is to provide an authentic, New England, family farm experience to our guests – and that’s what we plan to do, even if it looks a little bit different this year.
With apple season coming into full swing this year its great to take a moment and look back at past apple seasons. Thanks to Mrs. Nancy MacEwan, our friend and neighbor, we recently acquired a 1968 article featuring a picture of her picking and sorting apples. Here’s an excerpt from Worcester’s The Evening Gazette that I hope you enjoy reading as much as we do:
By Steven Preston, The Evening Gazette, Thursday, October 10, 1968
Phillipston – There is a lull in the whirlwind which each fall hits the Red Apple Farm on Highland Avenue at harvest time. The “Macs” have been stripped from the trees and put in cold storage or distributed to retail outlets. Apple Picking activity will soon be in full swing again as winter apples, such as Northern Spies, ripen with the first frosts of the year.
Open House Sunday
To observe this annual rite of gathering the richness of fruit from the trees, Mr. and Mrs. A. Spaulding Rose, owners of the Red Apple Farm, will hold their seventh annual open house from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. This year for the first time, the Apple Queen of the Massachusetts Fruit Growers Association will attend the open house, arriving at 3:30. She is Miss Mary Dowse of Sherborn. Rose, 62, who has been growing apple since 1929, estimates the crop this year at 8,000 to 10,000 bushels – about 85 per cent of last year’s bumper crop. However, he says, they are better quality because of early summer rains. (more…)
Filed under: Farm History
A big thanks to James A. from Toronto, Canada for our recent 5 star review on Tripadvisor:
Filed under: Boston Public Market
“New York City has the Big Apple, but Boston has the Red Apple”
Learn more about the special people who tend the orchard! Find out why they love what they do, where it all started, and what they do in their free time (hint: its usually involves food!).
Tell us a little bit about your
Filed under: Boston Public Market
The following is the beginning of a memoir written by Carolyn Rose. My father-in-law found it recently and passed it along to me. I have typed it directly from her manuscript that was written on blank ‘Welcome Wagon’ hostess forms. Additionally, we estimate this picture of her, taken in her very modern kitchen for a USDA article, dates from the late 1930’s. We hope you enjoy the glimpse into the past as much as we have.
The Saga of Red Apple Farm
By Carolyn Chaffin Rose
In the beginning was the house – and the orchard. He said, “I’ve found a farm and orchard that I like, will you come to see the house?” We drove to a small town in northern Worcester County, down a narrow dirt road lined with huge old maples and there was the house.
Filed under: Farm History
Open Daily Year-Round!
Farm Store is now open for inside purchases and curbside pickup!
9 am - 6 pm Mon - Thur
9 am - 8 pm Fri & Sat
9 am - 6 pm Sun
For curbside pickup payment and confirmation please go to our new curbside pickup page!
Open for the 2020 summer season!
4 pm - 9 pm Fri
11:30 am - 9 pm Sat
11:30 am - 7 pm Sun
More Info and reservation instructions on the Brew Barn page.
Closed for the season.
Open at the Boston Public Market for next day delivery or pickup through What's Good!
The farm store and Brew Barn are now OPEN! We can't wait to welcome you back to the farm. See Hours & Information for more details and instructions below. Curbside pickup still available too, and pick-your-own blueberries coming very soon!