Now I don't grow apples. I wish I did, but I've never been willing to cut down my existing trees. Every autumn I regret my decision, because autumn is apple season, and the northeast is a perfect place to grow apples. There are lots of orchards and it is easy to find fresh local apples.
In August the early apples come out. Gravensteins are the ones I buy. It is a nice green apple. As all my favorite eating apples are, they are tart, sweet, and crisp. These are only available for a very short time. They don't keep well.
Today at the farmer's market, I was hunting for apples. I came across another of my favorite apples, Honeycrisp. I was surprised. I thought they didn't get ripe for at least another week, but I was happy to buy them. This is a great eating apple. I think it is a little sweeter than a Gravenstein, but still it has enough sour to make it good and as a bonus it stores well. In fact very well, I've been told you can keep them for 6-8 months. Yet despite this I can usually only find them in the stores for about 2 months. I don't consider it a very pretty apple. In the photo they are the apples in the back. It can't make up its mind if it is green or red.
The apples in the front are the first Macintoshes of the season. I consider them premier cooking apples (along with Cortlands). They make fabulous applesauce. Most people don't like them for pies because they mush down too much when they cook, but our family likes our apple pies and cobblers mushy. We don't like to have crunch in our cooked apples.
I've never understood why Delicious apples (the most mendacious name in history) are the premier apple in grocery stores. Yes they are very pretty. None of the other apples I've mentioned so far can hold a candle to their beauty, but they are mealy and don't have that burst of tartness. In fact they don't have much flavor at all. Comparing a Honeycrisp to a Delicious is much like comparing an out of season grocery tomato to a sun ripened home grown tomato. There is no comparison.