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This is a rough time of year for someone like me, as I try desperately to hold onto summer for as long as possible. I bristle at each and every reference to Labor Day, which now apparently serves as the bellwether of summer’s demise (it doesn’t end till Sept. 21, people!).

With this mindset, two things scare me in August — back-to-school circulars and the onslaught of pumpkin-flavored food and beverages.

Now before you Cornocupia, with apples, pumpkin, grapes brand me a pumpkinphobe, I assure you I have nothing against this upstanding and versatile member of the squash family. In fact, I applaud the pumpkin, one of our local autumn icons, which also include fall foliage, white-steepled churches, high school football games, and the first Thanksgiving. And the pumpkin is a vital part of any cornucopia, along with squash, corn, grapes, and last but not least, apples.

Yes, the ubiquitous apple. A bit of background may explain our state’s impressive apple legacy: Local colonists introduced apples to the New World in the 17th century; the Rev. William Blaxton planted North America’s first apple orchard in 1625 in Boston; and Leominster’s JohnCloseup of hand picking an apple from a tree Chapman became the legendary Johnny Appleseed.

Speaking of apples, could you imagine a fall fair without apples? There’d be no apple-bobbing, that’s for sure, or cider to wash down those fresh fruits and veggies at the farm. But apples aren’t just window dressing at your local fall festival; they’re full of health benefits.

The Mayo Clinic reports that apples*:
• Are a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects your body’s cells
• Help form collagen, keeping blood vessels and skin healthy
• Provide soluble fiber, which may help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes

So, if that mLogo for Massachusetts Agricultureakes your mouth water for the crunch of a fresh, crisp apple, you don’t have to go far. Click here to find one of the 135 farms or farmers’ markets in the Commonwealth that feature local apples.

If you prefer to pick your own apples, just click here:  MassGrown map.

 

Lastly, here are some upcoming festivals where you can enjoy fresh, local apples:
Boxford Apple Festival, 9/20
Harvest Fair, Holliston, 9/21Flier for Franklin County CiderDays
Apple Harvest and Crafts Festival, Amherst, 9/27
Tewksbury AppleFest Craft Fair, 10/25
Boston Vegetarian Food Festival – 10/25, 10/26
Franklin County CiderDays, 10/31 – 11/2

Click here to search for more festivals.

 

 

* Mayo Clinic

Written By:


Ted works in communications for the Division of Prevention and Wellness at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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