August - February
Apple picking season is always one we look forward to here in the Driftless Region, and with so many excellent orchards in our area, there’s no shortage of these delicious harbingers of fall. With over 1,400 varieties of apples, visit an orchard and pick one you haven’t tried this season. Make sure the apple is firm when pressed, with no blemishes or signs of bugs. Since apples are particularly prone to pests, USDA Certified Organic orchards are difficult to come by. We know of only one—Turkey Ridge Orchard near Gays Mills in Crawford County. (Please tell us if you know of others!) (UPDATE 2013: We learned of two other Certified Organic orchards. One of them - Peck & Bushel Fruit Company in Colgate, WI - is a bit out of the Edible Madison 13-county region, but Future Fruit Farm is nice and close in Ridgeway, between Mt. Horeb and Dodgeville.)
If you want to limit your own or your family’s exposure to pesticides, it’s especially important to talk to the grower to learn about their farming practices. Remember, some small farms do not need to certify because of their size, but they may be using completely organic practices anyway.
Nutrition: “An apple a day” is about right. Apples promote regular bowels, can lower bad cholesterol, decrease the risk of stroke and heart attacks, and help detoxify the bloodstream.