From Oregon to Michigan to Virginia to Connecticut, it’s apple season, so take time to stop at a farmstand, inhale, and buy some local varieties. Choose deeply fragrant, hard, taut-skinned fruits with no bruises or blemishes, and, unlike stonefruit, stash them in the fridge when you get home. Farmstand varieties usually need to be consumed shortly after buying, while supermarket apples are better keepers.
Apples good for baking will likely be different than those you love eating out of hand; in general, low-acid, high-sugar varieties like the Gala apples pictured here (Braeburn is another sweetie) are better for eating, while tarter varieties (Cortland, Northern Spy, Mutsu, Rhode Island Greening) are especially good for cooking. If your family has been hungering for a fresh apple pie, see How to Bake a Double-Crust Fruit Pie by Carolyn Weil for complete instructions in text and video.