Here’s the thing about apples and me: we aren’t great friends. They try to get together in August and I refuse to return their calls. I once spouted off so vehemently about not eating apples in summer that a funny D.C. friend said I was appointed chair of the NAIS committee (No Apples In Summer).

Besides that, I would never, not ever, order a dessert on a menu that has apples as an ingredient. My sister and I stand strong on that one (we opt for chocolate), unless we are with a friend we don’t know that well, in which case we would set aside our sisterhood strong-arm dessert tactics and defer to that friend should an apple dessert be his or her preference.

But now, as of just the other day, it is officially no longer summer. That’s a relief because the apples are so pretty up north that I don’t think even I, the stooge of warm-weather apples, could hold out against them much longer. I heard from all over the place lately that there wouldn’t be much in the way of Michigan apples this year. I was recently downstate at the Lansing City Market, a market I haven’t been to since I was a little girl, and I got to talking with a farmer there. She said she used to work “off the farm,” and while she’s glad she did that to save up some cash for retirement, she much prefers things now, being “on the farm” full time. I asked her about the apples, and she was loath to admit that the Honeycrisps were imported from Pennsylvania. Not a single piece of fruit came from her own land this year, due to the early warmth then frost back in March.

They were spotty and bruised, the Honeycrisps, and some were so much so that she said those were not eating apples, but utility apples. Utility-anything makes me not want to do whatever it is that the utility is meant for. Isn’t it true that good ingredients in equals good product out? Perhaps they taste the same as the less bruised cousins, but a utility apple depresses me about as much as any apple in summer does.

The gentleman stocking the apples over at Bill’s watched me taking pictures and swatted a fly off of the apples for me. Can’t have a fly on the apple, we both agreed. He told me that the farmers lost a lot of apples downstate, but not so much here. The local apples are doing just fine, and they’re a little cheaper than downstate, where they’re fetching a bushel for a couple dollars more.

As your chair of NAIS, I’m pleased to officially say that it’s apple time, and to admit, now that it’s fall, that we are in fact very dear friends after all.

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