You will probably not believe me when I tell you this, but it is apple season.
How, you say. How can this possibly be so, amid this surfeit of cherries and berries and stone fruits? Well, take some unseasonably early heat waves, some shifting climate norms, and lo! Your apples are showing up before the neighbors have scraped the last of their fireworks off your sidewalk.
I wandered through the market yesterday, and spotted Lodi at several vendors, Gravensteins at another, and then Vista Bella. I’m lukewarm on Lodi– we’ve just never had a magic moment, and while I love Gravs, they are something of a known quantity for me. For my first apple of this season, I wanted to try something new.
Vista Bella (pictured above and right) is a variety neither very old or very new, having been developed at Rutgers University in the 1950s. The ones I picked up were awfully pretty; skins with deep pink blushing and just a dusting of ‘bloom’ on the surface, a visual quality I adore in both apples and plums, and lightly pink-stained flesh. I was
cautioned that Vista Bellas are a true summer apple, being short-lived both in season and shelf life, and that they’re best eaten within the week, if not sooner. Fortunately, I had no intention of stowing these away and they were promptly eaten for dinner. It’s moderately crisp and sweet, with a touch of berry-like pucker. I ate one, and rejoiced. Apple time is upon us.