Boulder Farmers' Market: Goodbye, peaches -- hello, apples!
Father John Ellis with Durazno peach.
T.S. Eliot's Prufrock famously measured out his life in coffee spoons. For the last several weeks, I've been measuring mine out in peaches. Stands at the Boulder Farmers' Market are overflowing with blushing fruit, so I've had peaches for breakfast, a peach with a piece of blue cheese for an afternoon snack, a chicken-peach salad or a pork chop with shallots and peaches for dinner, and perhaps peach pie for desert. And the pantry shelves are fully stocked for winter with peach and peach-cherry jam. In addition to peaches, I've been gorging on melons from 2 Rs, Red Wagon, Ollin and Munson's, raspberries and strawberries (yes, strawberries are back) from Aspen Moon and even a few grapes offered up grudgingly by the late-frost-stricken vines in my garden. See also: Seven things not to do at the Boulder Farmers' Market
Does anyone remember Philip Roth's description in Goodbye Columbus of what his working-class protagonist found in his upper-class girlfriend's refrigerator: "greengage plums, black plums, red plums, apricots, nectarines, peaches, long horns of grapes, black, yellow, red, and cherries, cherries flowing out of boxes and staining everything scarlet. And there were melons -- cantaloupes and honeydews -- and on the top shelf, half of a watermelon, a thin sheet of wax paper clinging to its bare red face like a wet lip."
So much lusciousness. But the season for soft fruits is almost over -- we have another week or two of peaches at best. So gorge while you can, because the Colorado season is short -- and once you've tasted a Colorado peach, you'll never be satisfied with its pallid supermarket cousin again.
Honeycrisp apples from Masonville Orchards.
Still, I knew fall was in the air when I woke up one morning craving sterner, stronger-fleshed fare: apples. Tart-sweet Jonathans, sourish Granny Smiths, crisp Pippins. Perfect timing, because this week saw the first appearance at the Boulder Farmers' Market of Masonville Orchards, where owner Walt Rosenberg grows over 150 varieties of apple on sites along the Front Range.
On Saturday, he offered bright-red Akanes, McInstoshes and sweet Galas. On Wednesday, there were just a handful of Mollies, which I'd never heard of before. These are a cross between Gravensteins and Golden Delicious, Rosenberg told me, and gave me one to taste. It had great crisp texture and was neither too sweet nor too sour, but sort of grown-up and restrained.
Still to come as fall unfolds: Jonathan, Norkent, Macoun, Cox Cherry Pippin, Sunrise, Florina, Winter Banana, Arkansas Black, Apricot Apple and many more. No, I don't know what all these taste like -- and Rosenberg won't be able get each and every variety to Boulder -- but I'm planning to have a lot of fun sampling them and then deciding which apples are best for savory dishes, and which for apple sauce and apple butter, pie, breakfast pastries or the traditional Slovak strudel my mother and I used to roll out together on the dining room table so many years ago.
For the moment, cooking can wait. Lunch will be bread, apples and cheese. For dessert: a juicy Durazno peach.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.