Are the Gravenstein apples soon to disappear? The Gravenstein, a very special little heirloom apple, is grown only in Nova Scotia and Sonoma County, CA, home of North Coast Organic. According to Slow Food USA, the Gravenstein is in danger of becoming broadly extinct because of many reasons, the most observable is its difficulty to harvest. Gravenstein apples have short stems, and their trees produce ripe apples at different times throughout the harvest season. They are also extremely delicate and perishable.
First planted in Sonoma County in 1811 by Russian trappers, the Gravenstein is known for its crisp, juicy texture and sweet, tart flavor. It’s the first apple to ripen every season, usually mid-July, depending on the amount of rain received the preceding winter. It is squat, irregularly shaped and usually has a greenish yellow background, covered with broad red stripes.
Many orchards around Sonoma County that were once filled with Gravenstein apple trees have been converted to vineyards or rural estates. During the past six decades, Sonoma County’s Gravenstein orchards have declined by almost 7,000 acres and are currently down to 960 acres. There are only six commercial Gravenstein apple growers remaining in Sonoma County. Together, their crop totals 15,000 tons of apples a year.
North Coast Organic is helping save the Gravenstein
As more consumers have come to appreciate the health benefits of organic apple products, North Coast Organic’s need for local organic apples has grown. As a result, many Sonoma County growers are planting more organic apple orchards, including Gravenstein apples, rather than shifting their land to vineyards.
At North Coast Organic, we love the Gravenstein apple’s perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors. We work with local farmers to harvest the fruit at its peak, and then make delicious apple juices and sauces that are shipped to grocers all over the United States. Not to our surprise, many people across the nation are loving our Gravenstein apple juice and apple sauce!
We are not alone in helping the Gravenstein
Community members throughout Sonoma County have collaborated over the years to save the Gravenstein from being placed on the endangered species list. A major driver is the Gravenstein Apple Presidium, a project of Slow Food USA. Presidia programs are local projects that work to improve the infrastructure of artisan food production. Here’s what the Sebastopol/Russian River district is doing to bring awareness to the current Gravenstein situation Mission to Save the Gravenstein Apple.
According to The Fruit Guys Magazine, a merry band of volunteers called the “Apple Core” are the biceps of the Gravenstein Apple Presidium, which has implemented many creative awareness campaigns. Because of the Apple Core’s efforts, public awareness of the very special Gravenstein apple is growing. Banners announcing the apple’s arrival span Sebastopol’s downtown each season, and excitement surrounds the annual Gravenstein Apple Fair, a two-day hoedown jam-packed with music, dancing, great food and ciders, kids’ activities, and more.
Come to the 2018 Gravenstein Apple Fair!
This year’s Gravenstein Apple Fair will be held the weekend of August 11th & 12th, under the shade of majestic oaks in Sebastopol’s Ragle Ranch Park. We’ll be there both days with our delicious organic apple juices, sauces, and apple cider vinegar for sale, so you won’t have to go home empty handed. Join us on the North Coast stage for a great music line-up and contests for a chance to win your very own Gravenstein apple tree! You can find more information about the fair on the Gravenstein Apple Fair website.
We invite you to check out where our delicious North Coast Organic Gravenstein apple sauces and juices are sold at markets and grocery stores near you.
North Coast Organic apple products are made in Sebastopol, CA from U.S. grown certified organic apples. They contain no added sugars, preservatives, colorings or flavorings.