Fall has definitely arrived on the Old Mission Peninsula, and not just because of those lovely grape sweaters covering all the vineyards.
Apples are starting to pop up on all the roadside farm stands, including these at Bern Kroupa’s rock wall – a.k.a. Old Mission Fruit Company – across from Old Mission Tavern on Center Road.
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And if you just want a couple apples, he’s got you covered.
These are McIntosh, or as we call them around here, “Macs.” One of the first apples to ripen in these parts, Macs have a red and green skin with a tangy-tart flavor and tender white flesh inside. They’re one of my favorite “old-fashioned” apples, although I will say that the newer Honeycrisp are definitely a contender.
So many of my childhood memories are wrapped up in apple season, including getting off the bus at my Grandma Stella’s house across from Peninsula Fruit Exchange – corner of Kroupa Road and Peninsula Drive – where my mom and dad would be working in the apple orchard we affectionately call “The Forty.”
Here they are in the Fall of 1946, shortly after they were married in August of that year.
The apple orchard on The Forty is still in the family, being excellently farmed by my brothers, Dean Johnson and Ward Johnson. Here’s Mom and Grandma in the orchard, with Dean’s dog Duke, probably sometime in the 1970s. I love Grandma’s fabulous red coat.