Did you know that the apples you buy from the supermarket may be almost a year old?
It’s common practice in the industry to cold store apples and treat them with a gas to stop them ripening.
This method of storage allows us to enjoy apples year round, but there’s always a trade off, and in the case of the apples, it’s often the flavour and texture that suffers.
It can be hard to get your hands on a freshly picked apple these days, but McMahon’s Organic Apples stall (run at the market by Nick, pictured) is an exception.
Rosemary McMahon, who owns the apple orchard near Stanthorpe with husband Jeff, his brother Mal and his wife Cathy, says because they are organic growers, they cannot store apples in the same way conventional growers can (using storage gases), which means the apples at their stall are generally picked fresh that week. They’re transported just a short distance from Stanthorpe (the closest place to the Northern Rivers which has a climate suitable for growing apples) before making it their farmers’ market stall.
As well as being fresh, their apples are picked ripe. Rosemary explains that conventional growers will often strip the trees in one go, allowing unripe fruit to ripen off the tree. At McMahons, they visit the trees up to four times, picking only the ripe fruit each time. She says this allows the sugars in the apples to develop fully, giving a better flavour.
The McMahon’s are fully organic, and have been farming this way for over a decade, which means there are no concerns about chemical residues on their fruit.
Apple picking usually begins in the late summer and continues throughout Autumn, as the different varieties ripen. Royal Galas are the first to ripen, followed by the Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Fuji, Red Delicious and then Pink Lady, with the season finishing around July.
• Find McMahon’s Apples at the New Brighton Farmers Market every Tuesday.