Welcome fall with heirloom apple varieties at Concord Farmers Market

Rainbow Orchards grows a variety of heirloom apples at their mountain farm near Camino. Find them at Concord’s Tuesday market.

CONCORD, CA (Sept. 12, 2023) — Apples are some of the first fall fruits to arrive, with some varieties ready as early as August. However, farmers say that the wet winter has delayed harvests, so we can expect apples a bit later than last year.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t start getting excited about the tempting aroma of baked apples or apple pie.

There are a wide variety of apples to choose from at your farmers market – many more than you’ll find at any grocery store. And with more farmers returning to growing traditional heirloom varieties, you’ll discover they have better flavor than the hybrids. Gravenstein, Arkansas Black and Pink Lady are just a few of the old varieties that farmers are growing again.

There are apples best for baking, others best for applesauce and many just best for eating out of hand. Talk with your local farmer to find the perfect match for your cooking and eating needs.

Rainbow Orchards attends the Tuesday Concord Farmers Market. Their mountain-grown apple orchards sit at an elevation of 3,400 feet in the hills of Camino. They grow heirloom varieties like Braeburn, Pippin, Fuji, Honey Crisp, Arkansas Black and many standard hybrids. Available beginning in early September are Gala, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Jonathon and Macintosh apples.

Smit Farms, also a Tuesday market attendee, has more than 36 varieties of apples throughout the season. Their orchards in Linden are filled with so many varieties that it’s hard to choose which ones to enjoy. Try their Crimson Crisp, Cameo, Jewel or Black Twig. Most of their orchards are certified organic, and they use a variety of sustainable farming practices.

The Fresno area is the place where Diaz Farms grows their Fuji and Gala apples. Since 1990, the family has been farming near Fowler and has expanded their selection of orchards to include other seasonal fruits. Diaz Farms attends both Tuesday and Thursday Concord markets.

Another Central Valley farmer, J&J Ramos Farms, grows Fuji, Gala, Crimson Gala, Pippin, Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Pink Lady varieties. With 350 acres of orchards in Hughson, they grow more than just apples, but be sure to enjoy their apples right now.

Please note that the Thursday evening Concord market will be closing for the season on Sept. 28. The Tuesday market is open year-round.

Apples at the Concord Farmers Market. (Pete Cruz photo)

Easy Slow Cooker Apple Butter

  • 6 lbs. apples, such as Pink Lady or Braeburn
  • 2 c. white sugar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 4 T maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar

Core and peel apples and place in large slow cooker. Pour in remaining ingredients. Cook on high for 1 hour; stir.

Cook on low for 9-10 hours or overnight, until the apples are soft. Remove the lid, stir, then cook on high for 1 hour to allow for thickening to desired consistency. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.

While the mixture is still hot, fill sterilized jars, then add lids and rings; refrigerate for up to two weeks or can in a water bath canner. Process for 20 minutes.