Jonagold is a cultivar of apple, a cross between the mellow Golden Delicious and tart Jonathan which was developed in 1953 in Geneva, New York (where Red Jacket is from!) at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. They form a large sweet fruit with a thin skin. Because of their large size they are now favoured by commercial growers in many parts of the world. Jonagold is triploid, and as such requires a second type of apple for pollen and is incapable of providing pollen for other trees.

Jonagold has a green-yellow basic color with crimson, brindled covering colour and has a honey sweet taste with a hint of tartness. This makes it an excellent eating apple, as well as good for pies and salads and sauce. Jonagolds are also favorites as fried apples – simply saute in a little butter and add cinnamon – no sugar needed! The apple has a fluffily crisp fruit. It is juicy and aromatic and has a sweet-sour taste.


Beyond our 40 varieties of apples, the winter CSA also features our juices, which have no sugar and no water added to them – that means it’s all fruit!  On top of all this, the juices are all freshly pressed on our farm.  Like everyone else, sometimes we make mistakes.  Why, just a few days ago we began pressing tart cherry stomp while there was still raspberry apple juice still in the mixing tank.  So what did we end up with?  A delicious and limited micro batch of tart cherry and raspberry!  So as a special present, we’ll be adding a 12oz juice of this micro batch to the CSA share this week (and hopefully next!).  Let us know what you think!

Back in the day before SweeTango or HoneyCrisp, or even Gala and Braeburn, there were two types of apples you would find in a grocery store: red and yellow. And, yes, you can rest assured that they were probably ‘Delicious’. Then, in 1972, Grady Auvil, of Auvil Fruit Company, planted the first ‘Granny Smith‘ orchard in Washington State (and the US as well). This planting represented a significant departure for US orchardists from the steady production stream of Reds and Goldens. While many of our apple varieties came from Europe, none (that I know of) came from Australia or other Pacific Ocean countries until Granny Smith. That doesn’t mean there weren’t some scattered about. It just means that major US production was still focused on the “Big 2” and that American consumers had yet to discover the truly great apples that we now find regularly in supermarkets, farmers markets, and CSAs. The Granny Smith apple kicked off a revolution in US apple production.

One of the great “other” introductions from Down Under came from New Zealand. The Braeburn apple was discovered at Williams Brothers Braeburn Orchards near Nelson, New Zealand, in the 1950s. Most presume that ‘Lady Hamilton’ apple was one of the parents, while the other parent is considred to be ‘Granny Smith’–but there is no way to verify this. This apples’ rich sweet – tangy spicy flavor has high impact with consumers. It is a very firm aromatic, juicy, crisp, apple that combines sweet and tart. The apple was introduced to the US in the 1980s and is now major component of production throughout.

Braeburn stores very well if picked while still slightly immature (although at Red Jacket Orchards we have found quite the opposite….when picked right, of course!).  Braeburn is arguably at its best soon after picking and as such that’s how we like to serve it up .


Red Jacket Orchards doesn’t grow very many Braeburns at all. But what we do grow is quite good because of our growing conditions and ability to focus on this apple as a CSA and farmers market apple, rather than as one for supermarkets (in other words, we do not look to store it for very long in any year). So enjoy our Braeburns this fall for as long as possible.

and now a message from Farmer Mike

You know what they say: one person’s junk is another’s treasure. This no truer than when it comes to Fuji apples. The Fuji apple was developed by growers at the Tohoku Research Station in Fujisaki, Aomori, Japan, in the late 1930s. It originated as a cross between two American apple varieties the ‘Red Delicious’ and old ‘Virginia Ralls Genet’ apples. The Japanese have traditionally grown this apple in the most caring of ways ensuring eating one of these precious gems is a near-spiritual experience.

Among its wonderful traits are firm, crisp flesh and super-sweet flavor.  Another of its traits is something called ‘watercore’. In hardcore scientific terms, watercore is described as a “preharvest disorder resulting in water soaked regions in the flesh, hard and glassy in appearance, only visible externally when very severe. The water soaked appearance of watercore affected fruit results from the accumulation of sorbitol-rich solutions in the intercellular spaces.” In other words, the vascular system (how water and nutrients move back and forth in the fruit) is jammed packed with sugars (aka sorbitol). Watercore-laden Fuji are considered defective in the US and other parts of the world, but in Japan they are considered a delicacy. The fact that Japanese will often pay up to double for a truly awesome Fuji bears this out quite obviously.

water core is pictured above as the star-like shape surrounding the seeds

The trouble is that it is very difficult to tell when an apple has watercore or not. Even though Fuji tend to have watercore does not mean that every apple will have it. It’s a bit like finding the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory. The growing season often dictates the severity of watercore: hot, dry growing conditions increase the chances of watercore. This season in the Finger Lakes was nearly perfect weather for watercore. And Wow! does it show. So, we’ve decided to offer up a treat that you may not see until after you’ve crunched through a few apples. But even if you don’t get an apple with watercore, try, try again.

So, you see, it is all perception. One person’s junk is another’s treasure, and watercore is just another of Nature’s hidden culinary treasures. Tanoshimu!

The deadline for the Carroll Gardens Winter CSA, which is held on Tuesdays from 4:00 – 7:30pm, is Friday, November 5th.  Membership applications found here.

The winners of the quince cook off were the Apple-Pear-Quince Cobbler and the Quince Pound Cake.  Other dishes included quince sorbet, pickled quince, quince chips, and quince jam.  Recipes from our contestants can be found in our recipe section.  All contestants received tickets to our Fresh Bodegas Fundraiser/Kick-Off Party.  Congratulations to the winners and thank you for everyone who participated!

SunCrisp Apple

In his latest blog entry, Farmer Mike talks about one of his favorite apples, the SunCrisp.  This apple has a spicy-sweet taste which becomes milder the longer they are left to sit.  The inside of the apple is a creamy white color and is very juicy.  They are great for cooking, especially mixed with recipes featuring cinnamon.  Mike describes the experience of picking a SunCrisp right off the tree.  To read the full blurb, click here.

Now, SunCrisp is not your normal apple. It was “discovered” at Rutgers University and given the unceremonious name of NJ-55. (Sounds a little like a secret agent name, but, in fact, most unreleased apples are given alphanumeric names like this). It was the result of a cross between Golden Delicious and Cox Orange Pippin (another of my all-time favorites), ripens about a week after Golden Delicious, and tastes fantastic. In fact, it tastes beyond fantastic! As I grabbed that golden orb (with slight red blush-the apple, not me), I noticed the speckling on the skin and minor stem end russetting, it occurred to me, as it has over the years, that sometimes the best tasting apples are not necessarily the prettiest. And today that was certainly the truth!

The way I determine whether an apple is ready to harvest is by tasting it. Because if it don’t taste good, don’t pick it! So over the past few weeks, I have been tasting the SunCrisp wondering (mentally salivating) when they would be ready. I had several “close but no cigar” experiences, until today. Today, all the tumblers clicked and Fort Knox’s doors opened wide.


We’ve extended the Fort Greene CSA deadline to Thursday, October 28th.  Distribution is at 225 Adelphi Street at the Urban Assembly Academy of Arts and Letters from November 3 – December 22nd from 4:30pm – 7:00pm.  At this CSA, we will also incorporate an educational program with the students on local agriculture and the different varieties of apples.  Sign up here.

I recently made quince paste out of last week’s quince and I’ve been eating it non stop: on toast, in sandwiches, in salad, and the list goes on.  I have now tried quince on a cookie, grilled, raw (which I rather like) and now as paste.  I thought to myself, how does quince taste prepared in other ways and wouldn’t CSA members also like to know?  So why not a friendly quince cook-off?  I am always very impressed by how creative and adventurous everyone is and think this is a great time to let that talent shine!

I know it’s a bit short notice, but if anyone would like to partake in this cook-off I invite them to bring a sample of your prepared quince dish and/or an original quince recipe to this week’s distribution on October 26th.  I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday evening.  You don’t have to bring enough for the whole CSA, but don’t forget: sharing is caring.

And the grand prize?  A ticket to our Fresh Bodegas Fundraiser coming up on Thursday, October 28, 2010, which will feature an evening of music by Michael Arnella and His Dreamland Orchestra, complimentary Six Point craft ales, tastings by The Piggery, produce from 10th Acre Farms, and much more.  Joe Nicholson, the esteemed patriarch of Red Jacket Orchards, will also be making his first speaking engagement in Brooklyn and will talk about the past, present, and future of his family’s upstate farm.

Need some recipe ideas?  Here are the recipes that were available at last week’s distribution and a few additional ones.

Winter CSA!

We’re proud to announce that Red Jacket will continue to provide CSA members with farm fresh produce until December!

Distribution Locations
1.  Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain
513 Henry Street, Brooklyn (Carroll Gardens)
Corner of Henry Street and Sackett Street
Tuesdays, November 16 – December 28 from 4:00pm – 7:30pm
Applications are due November 5, 2010

2.  92 Y Tribeca
200 Hudson Street, Manhattan (Tribeca)
Wednesdays, November 24 – December 29 from 4:00pm – 7:00pm
Applications are due November 12, 2010

3.  The Urban Assembly Academy of Arts & Letters
225 Adelphi Street, Brooklyn (Fort Greene)
Wednesdays, November 3 to December 22 from 4:30pm – 7:00pm.
Applications are due October 26, 2010

Share costs differ depending on distribution location (each distribution location runs for different lengths of time).  However, the weekly cost of each share is as follows:

Half Share: $10 per week
Full Share: $17 per week
a $5 admin fee will be added to the share price

Sample Share
Half Share: Will feed a household of 1-2
2 32oz juices
1 lb of Gala Apples
1 lb of Golden Supreme Apples
1 lb of Seckel Pears

Full share: Will feed a household of 3-4
3 32oz juices
2 lbs of Gala Apples
2 lbs of Golden Supreme Apples
2 lbs of Seckel Pears