Gravensteins Are Here & More

Get them while you can -- beautiful Gravenstein apples. (Photo courtesy of the FruitGuys

Gravenstein Apple Time

With peaches, plums and strawberries galore at farmers markets, it’s hard to think about apples already.

But don’t dawdle, as it’s prime time for Gravensteins.

The heirloom apple is beloved for its juiciness, as well as its wonderfully balanced sweet-tart flavor. It’s perfect for turning into apple sauce or pies. But it has a very short growing season, and doesn’t keep long unlike other apple varieties that can last quite awhile in cold storage.

Gravensteins once were the main apple crop in Sebastopol. But as vineyards moved in, orchards soon dwindled.

Slow Food has worked hard to make sure Gravensteins don’t ever disappear.

For the past couple of years, the FruitGuys, a produce delivery service, has partnered with Gravenstein farmers to offer these storied apples — but only through Aug. 24. A box of Gravensteins start at $24, while a box of organic ones start at $40, depending upon your zip code, as they are shipped overnight. Each box is accompanied by a few Gravenstein apple recipes, too, to get you started.

Moreover, the FruitGuys are donating 17 percent of all profits from the apple boxes back to the participating Gravenstein farmers to  help ensure these apples never cease to exist.

Grape to Glass in the Russian River Valley

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to take a drive to Sonoma County’s picturesque Russian River Valley, there’s no better one than the 17th Annual Grape to Glass Pre-Harvest Party, Aug. 18 at 4 p.m. at Richard’s Grove & Saralee’s Vineyard in Windsor.

The party kicks off with a tasting reception, showcasing more than 50 wineries, as well as gourmet noshes by local restaurants and caterers.

But save room for the barbecue dinner that follows, which will be prepared by Smokehouse Bistro. Dessert will be apple pie a la mode made with Gravensteins.

Tickets are $85 each.

Up for grabs in the live auction will be such packages as a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the filming of the Food Network’s “Guy’s Big Bite” with Guy Fieri, and a pool party at Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

Key lime cupcake from Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar. (Photo courtesy of the bakery)

Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar to Open in San Francisco

With locations already in Napa and Sonoma County, Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar is about to take on San Francisco.

Its first San Francisco location is expected to open Aug. 20 at the corner of Fillmore and California streets in the Pacific Heights neighborhood.

Bay Area native Andrea Ballus was inspired to start her bakery after trying to find pastries for her own Wine Country wedding. Last year, her baking prowess proved victorious when she became the first Bay Area dessert shop to triumph on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.”

Raspberry macarons. (Photo courtesy of Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar)

Her cupcakes all have whimsical names such as “Mango Tango Mojito” (rum cake, mango mojito filling and mango buttercream frosting). Look for ice cream sandwiches, whoopie cookies, and cake shakes (yes, they’re exactly what you think they are).

San Francisco Street Food Festival Rolls into Town

Give your taste buds a workout at the 4th annual San Francisco Street Food Festival, presented by food business incubator, La Cocina.

The food and music mash-up will be held in the Mission District, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 18.

Participating food vendors will include: Let’s Be Frank, Il Cane Rosso, State Bird Provisions, and Hawker Fare.

The night before, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 17, La Cocina will present its first San Francisco Night Market at the Alemany farmers market, 100 Alemany Blvd. in San Francisco.

Twenty-seven vendors will be dishing up eats in a benefit for La Cocina. Among the participants will be the Fifth Floor restaurant, Los Cilantros and Ken Ken Ramen.

Entrance fee is $25. Food and drink will be priced under $10.

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  • The cupcake looks beautiful! And I love the sound of that cake shake. 😉

  • It’s difficult not to think of my paternal grandfather when I see anything about gravenstein apples. He and my grandmother spent quite a bit of time in the Sebastopol area in their lives and each year went to pick apples so he could make applesauce. He swore they were the best for it. Thanks for the wonderful memories!

  • Wow, indeed so much going on…I never heard of Gravenstein apples…and the cupcake look awesome…Street Food Festival…sounds really fun 🙂
    Hope you are having a great week Carolyn!

  • I was so sorry that I didn’t find out about these apples while we lived in California.I was reading about them a few months after we moved back to Tennessee. They have such an interesting history and sound so delicious!!

  • Dear Carolyn,

    I am always amazed at the varieties and names of apples in different countries. Here is Australia, it’s can be quite a task deciding which ones to use for cooking and different recipes will say different things too.

  • It’s all about apples and pears here! I came across a Gravenstein at an apple orchard and was so excited to see them! They all taste so different! 🙂

  • So much in this post to love! I haven’t had a Gravenstein for a long time and would love some.

    I have some very fond memories of Sonoma and now I’m homesick. 🙂

  • I am an apple FANATIC and it sounds like these Gravensteins have all of the apple characteristics that I love! I’ll have to keep an eye out for them!

  • I am madly madly madly in love with gravenstein apples. Hands down the best apple out there! I wish they were easier to get in LA. So hard to find at farmers markets and grocery stores! That delivery service might be my new ticket to heaven…

  • I’ve never heard of gravensteins. I’ll have to check out some of my local specialty markets and see if they carry them. Sound wonderful – I’d love to taste them!

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