Apples & West Orchards

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As a Chef, one of my biggest passions is to find exceptional products and ingredients. My current Hot Button is for the amazing Honey Crisp apples that we’ve been sourcing from West Orchards, just down route 20 in Perry.
Sure, you can get them at your local grocery store right now, but it somehow always makes ME feel better to look the grower or producer in the face and see the passion they have for their product. Amy West has that passion for everything she and her husband so lovingly produce. We bought out their supply of Heirloom tomatoes this year, so, if you’ve had them in the restaurant in the past few months, that’s where they were from.
Now we are on to great Autumnal products: a myriad of squash, gourds, and of course, apples. Amy brought me a sample of their first pressing of Apple Cider a couple of weeks ago, explaining that it was their first batch and was sure to improve. “Why so?” I asked. “Well this first run is only made with four types of apples.” Sounded pretty awesome to me. She went on to explain that when they got into full swing with the apple harvest, the cider will be made with 8 varieties and therefore be more complex. It seems much like crafting a wine; taking the different characteristics from each variety to form the perfect blend. And believe me, it is now tasting spectacular!
They will have cider for a number of weeks but I advise you to buy as much as your freezer will hold, because it freezes beautifully, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Oh and while you’re there, pick up some of my Fave, Honey Crisp Apples. I love them braised with Pork shoulder & cider and they are certainly GREAT for pies and Apple Crisp. Truth be told, they are the key ingredient to my delicious Sweet Potato Salad.
But don’t tell anyone.
Eat & drink well !
Chef Randal

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