29 Jul2007

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From the age of 11, I spent every single summer (10 fantastic weeks) with my sisters in New York, a trip which I looked forward to more than any other event in a calendar year (including my birthday, Christmas or any school party). Every single weekend during those summer holidays in the 1970’s, we drove out to my sisters’ weekend homes/cottages in Quogue and Easthampton bri3, well before it was considered fashionable to “weekend in the Hamptons”… That was where I learned to harvest wild strawberries, pick raspberries and blueberries and cultivated strawberries right on the fields they were grown in, select and cook ears of corn that were picked literally minutes before, and stop at practically every single farmstand on the Southern and Northern forks of Long Island. It was an education that I wasn’t even aware I was enrolled in at the time. I had a small vegetable garden that I tended there, was grossed out when a deer tick attached itself to my chest one year, witnessed a summer where caterpillars literally ate EVERY SINGLE leaf on the island and you could hear them chewing (probably with their mouths open), and planted a tree or two that are probably quite huge by now. In retrospect, this is where my roadside food shopping genes were almost certainly cemented into place. Though my mom was a world class shopper as well, and bought from nearly every roadside stand and market she passed in the Philippines, I think I got hooked on “trickle down economics” on the farmstands of Long Island…

One year I discovered a delicious tasting spread called Apple Butter, and I used to bring some bottles of it home and savor it for many months until it ran out and the countdown to the next summer trip to New York had begun in earnest. If you inhale the fragrance that emanates bri2from a fresh bottle of apple butter, your first thought will almost certainly be “THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS.” It smells like all of the best things about a Western Christmas and is made with applesauce, brown sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice and lemon juice it is perfect on toast and get this… TOTALLY FAT FREE. On our recent trip to New York, we visited another sister and her family in Great Neck, then drove out to Quogue (near Westhampton) to visit some family friends and then drove through Riverhead and up the North Fork on our way to Boston. In Riverhead, we stopped at The Briermere Farmstand and got a few bottles of apple butter to take home with us. The farmstand has gotten rather fancy these days with a much wider selection of goods on offer… but it was still close enough to the stands of my memories from 20-30 years ago.

Their list of fruit pies was impressive… and the prices reasonable when compared to some Manila dessert places!

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A commercial chiller was filled with fantastic juices, including freshly squeezed grapes from nearby vineyards, peach, apple, apple cider, etc.

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It was late Spring when we were there so the rhubarb was stunning, here sold with stems submerged in a little water to ensure they are at their freshest!

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Beautiful field fresh asparagus were offered beside freat looking, but greenhouse raised tomatoes…

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If you wanted some fresh lettuce, how about harvesting your own for just $1 a head…

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And if you were planting your summer vegetable and herb garden, they had seedlings in flats…

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Including three kinds of sage!

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COMMENTS:

  1. bernadette says:

    I know that apple butter! But not from the same farm…I also vacationed with a cousin in Rochester, New York. Aside from going around wineries and wonderful farms during Sundays, I had the chance of going to some apple farms where they make all sorts of apple-based products and after buying (one of them was that apple butter) just gorge on home-made pies with these rich toppings. Also, sloshed from wine-tasting :-)…

    Jul 29, 2007 | 12:03 pm

     
  2. Kieran says:

    I love apple butter, especially on crepes or pancakes. Have you tried other “butters” such as pumpkin or peach? Apple butter is my favorite, while pumpkin comes a very close second.

    Jul 29, 2007 | 3:35 pm

     
  3. tings says:

    I’ve been reading about apple butter for years now. I used to collect country magazines and somehow would always come across an article about apple butter, morel mushrooms, the best biscuit recipe, cod cakes etc, and the sad thing is, I’ve never tried any of them except the biscuits. But I know it’s still not authentic because we don’t have buttermilk here. Anyway, can you make apple butter at home? I think this will be perfct with english scones….yummy

    Jul 29, 2007 | 3:53 pm

     
  4. Marketman says:

    tings, I have never made apple butter, but you can substitute a little milk with a touch of vinegar for buttermilk in your biscuit recipes… And last week I purchased small amount of fresh morels or was it chanterelles at Santis… Kieran, I haven’t tried pumpkin butter but it sounds good.

    Jul 29, 2007 | 5:46 pm

     
  5. nang says:

    it’s the first time i’ve ever seen rhubarb. excuse me for my ignorance, but i’ve always thought that rhubarb was some kind of berry. now i know better. hehe.

    Jul 29, 2007 | 8:57 pm

     
  6. Marketman says:

    nang, here is an earlier post I did on locally grown rhubarb, then some strawberry and rhubarb pies I made that were delicious…

    Jul 29, 2007 | 9:05 pm

     
  7. nang says:

    i was so mesmerized with those strawberry and rhubarb pies that i didn’t notice my dog getting stuck in fly paper! hahaha. thanks, MM, for enriching my food knowledge.

    Jul 29, 2007 | 9:28 pm

     
  8. tings says:

    Fresh morels!!! Thanks MM!

    Jul 30, 2007 | 6:20 pm

     
  9. Marketman says:

    tings, sorry, the mushrooms I bought were fresh CHANTERELLES, not morels…

    Jul 30, 2007 | 7:37 pm

     
  10. Ruth says:

    Apple butter on banana bread. I tell you its perfect. Add a little butter too before spreading the apple butter.

    Am just reading your profile for the first time and found out you have a viking stove (envy!envy!). Am curious – is your fridge a subzero?

    Jul 30, 2007 | 10:09 pm

     
  11. Cookie says:

    HI MM!

    I love going to roadside farms. There are a lot here in NJ and I do the same thing – buy corn, tomatoes, squash and anything else they have. Straight from the farm, fresh and amazingly quite bigger in terms of size compared to ones you would buy at the grocery. I love just driving around during the summer because there are a lot of things to see. I can never seem to get my Mom – when shes visiting – to see the beauty in all this. She would prefer spending 3 hours in Nordstrom or the whole day in Woodbury Commons or just everyday gallavanting in NYC. I can’t blame her of course – but there is soooo much more in the tri-state area to see!! Oh well….

    Jul 30, 2007 | 10:20 pm

     
  12. Maria Clara says:

    I love apple butter with my toast, fluffy pancakes and crispy waffles.

    Jul 31, 2007 | 1:35 am

     
  13. connie says:

    Roadside farms are my weakness too. Husband gets irrirated because I always make pit stops whenever I see one when we come back home from a road trip. I love it when they let you pick strawberries, blueberries, oranges or even peaches off the tree yourself. As for apple butter, I just simply love the smell, you are right it’s very Christmasssy, nothing says western Christmas than appler butter or the smell of pumpkin pie baking in the oven. I love it on anything but most especially on crepes.

    Jul 31, 2007 | 9:39 am

     
  14. CecileJ says:

    Now I am intrigued about apple butter! What’s a good brand available in Manila? And where can I buy a bottle? Am imagining eating it on whole wheat toast…with sweet butter pa! (What’s a good brand of sweet butter, too? I saw Darigold brand at Cash & Carry. Is it any good?)

    Jul 31, 2007 | 10:05 am

     
  15. Carol says:

    Aside from toast or waffles, try topping the apple butter on vanilla ice cream or plain yogurt! You can do the same with pumpkin butter. It is so delicious!

    Aug 9, 2007 | 4:28 pm

     
  16. dee says:

    Im kicking myself now for not taking home some apple butter and maple syrup when I was in San Francisco, but I sure enjoyed them immensely with thick yoghurt when I was there! I got them at this wonderful grocery called Rainbow, sigh.. I hope we have a grocery like that here.. I could walk the aisles for hours..

    Oct 16, 2007 | 5:30 pm

     
 

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