Published on 09/08/97

Fall a Time for Fresh Apples

Fall in Georgia is a really special season. It's a return to school routines for the kids, football games, the Braves and maybe even the World Series.

Fall is particularly hectic for the apple industry in the north Georgia mountains. Harvest began about the first of August with the picking of Ginger Gold. It will continue into November when they finish up with Arkansas Black, Granny Smith and Yates.

Sandwiched between the early- and late-season varieties are many other apples of superb quality. These apples can be used a multitude of ways, from pies to salads to muffins to fresh eating. And they come in a taste range from sweet to tart.

For more than half a century, Georgia apple growers concentrated on growing a handful of varieties they shipped to distant markets.

In recent years, however, they've expanded their variety selection to meet the demands of retail customers. On a given day, it's not unusual to find 10 or more varieties in a north Georgia apple grower's retail market.

Depending on the market, you may also find sourdough apple bread, fried apple pies, cider, jellies, frozen cider drinks, a restaurant -- you name it!

Once you might have found only Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty and Arkansas Black. But look at a few of the apple varieties you'll find today. Not every grower has all of the apples listed in the chart. But many may have other varieties.

Few fruits or vegetables are better for you than apples. So throw a few in the picnic box for the football game or in your child's lunch box.

If you'd like to know more about the many uses of Georgia apples and a guide to retail markets, drop a note to the Georgia Apple Commission, 328 Agriculture Building, Capital Square, Atlanta, Georgia 30334. They'll be glad to help you.

Butch Ferree is an extension horticulturist specializing in fruit crops with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.