Start reading about apple lore and it becomes addictive. Most commonly grown in this country? Red Delicious, followed by Gala and then Golden Delicious.
Number Four on the list, Granny Smith, opens up the whole business of where the apples got their names. The Granny Smith apple, it turns out, is named after Australian Maria Ann Sherwood Smith, who in 1868 cultivated a seedling with mysterious origins. By differing accounts, the seedling was either found growing on her property in the same place where she had tossed French crabapples, or she found the seedling on her compost pile. Either way, Smith died two years later, so that may have been the inspiration to memorialize her name with the tart new apple that she brought into the marketplace.
Then there’s the personal-connection-to-greatness moment: The Esopus Spitzenburg? Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apple. The chance-moment-in-history event that changed the course of our apple-eating habits: The unusually harsh winter of 1933/34 that wiped out most of the Baldwin apple orchards in New England, sending what had been among the most popular of apples in the US into relative obscurity. And don’t even get started on the science of it all, the cloning and grafting that it takes to grow an apple variety or the disputes on which apple is best for baking, eating or making hard cider from.
You get the idea. Best, perhaps, is to get away from Google and get out to the fourth annual Hudson Valley Apple Festival in pastoral Germantown, south of Hudson and north of Tivoli. The festival put on by the Germantown Lions Club will be held on Saturday, September 19 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Palatine Park in Germantown. Admission costs $5 for everybody age 14 or older.
The Hudson Valley Apple Festival offers a lot of different activities for all tastes. Kids’ activities include bounce houses, an inflatable obstacle course, a haybale maze, a marine life touch tank, a petting zoo, Whoopsie Daisy the clown and face-painting, along with games and other activities. Family hayrides will be given through the park from 1 to 5 p.m. and a kids’ hula-hoop contest goes off at 4:30 p.m.
The Apple Crate Derby race begins on Palatine Park Road at 2 p.m. Registration takes place from 10 to 11 a.m., and a mandatory safety meeting for Derby drivers is held at 11:30 a.m. Trophies are awarded.
An Apple Baking Contest will be judged at noon, with winners announced afterward. Entries are due at the Activity Building by 11 a.m. A dog agility show will be offered at 1 p.m. and again at 3 p.m.
Adults will enjoy a new twist to this year’s event: an “Antiques Roadshow” with appraisers from the Rhinebeck Antique Emporium offering $5 estimates of the worth of your antique objects from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is a limit of two items per person.
Chainsaw woodcarver Aya Blaine will demonstrate her roughhewn woodcarving techniques from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a lucky 7 p.m. raffle winner going home with one of her sculptures. There will be craft vendors galore offering all manner of handmade items, and food vendors with the whole range of festival offerings, from fried dough to frozen desserts to artisan goat cheeses, along with everything apple-oriented that one can imagine – including apple fries, caramel apples, chili with apples, apple cider doughnuts and apple slaw.
Live jazz music is provided by Anthony Michael from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by traditional bluegrass tunes from Taconic Ridge from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and the Hale Mountain Pickers from 5 to 7 p.m. The day comes to a spectacular close at 7:15 p.m. with fireworks.
Parking is available at the park until the lots are full, and then at the Germantown Central School at 123 Main Street or the municipal parking lot on Main Street. Handicapped parking is available at the park with a permit.
Hudson Valley Apple Festival, Saturday, September 19, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., fireworks 7:15 p.m., $5, Palatine Park, 50 Palatine Park Road, Germantown; www.hudsonvalleyapplefestival.com. Photo of apple by Kristina Servant.