Thursday, September 11, 2008
Cider and Grape Pie
In October-November when I'm roaming around the old home sod in Western N.Y. two of the things I look most forward to are fresh cider and Grape Pies.The area around Rochester especially between Rochester and Syracuse near Lake Ontario is huge apple growing country.The Schutt's label below is from Webster,N.Y. a suburb of Rochester that was when I was growing up an almost weekly event for fall and into winter.We all piled into the ford wagon on Sunday afternoon for a drive out to the country and Schutt's.They are still there now open year round but driving out to the mill last year I was struck by what was once farm country is now pretty built up with tract homes around them.As kids it was all pretty much farmland on plank road.Schutt's always had cider pressed just by apple and mixed but My father and most of us loved the cider made from Northern Spy apples.As I was driving south to Naples last fall and going through Bloomfield N.Y. which I've done way to many times I noticed a sign for the first time ever."Welcome to Bloomfield,Home of the Northern Spy Apple"Either this sign was behind a tree for thirty years or I did not notice it.I was making the drive to Naples because the Naples/Bristol area is home to another Finger Lakes food heaven.That's the Grape Pie.One either loves or hates them and I love them.In Naples alone there must be ten different ladies making and selling them.During the Naples Grape Festival hundreds are sold.You can get pies,tarts,bread,Ice Cream,Milkshakes all in grape.Along the back roads farm houses have tables out front with home baked grape products and a box to leave your money in.Even the Rochester based grocery chain Wegmans sells Grape Pies but it's driving down into the country and buying a local one that makes it sprcial.I think my fave is Monica who has turned her pies of all flavors into a buisness and has been on the food channel but Monicas Pies no longer ships through the web site.I asked her last year and it seemed it was all becoming too much so she only sells at the store again.A local farmstand on the other end of Naples sells suzies pies who works for a local doctor my friend sells medical supplies to and I love those also.In fact suzie is saving a few for me cause hers were all gone by the time I made it down there last fall.When Suzies Pies run out the farmstand sells another ladies pies whose name I forget at the moment.There's even a sign for Mom's pies pointing down one side street.A slice of Grape Pie and some good Vanilla Ice Cream is about as good as it gets.