Apple Tasting Review: Portland Nursery

October 19, 2010

After we got done tasting fruit at the Home Orchard Society’s “All About Fruit Show,” we all piled back into the car to head to the Portland Nursery’s 23rd Annual Apple Tasting Event. It was in the car that I found out that one person of our party had been so overwhelmed by the apple varieties at the All About Fruit Show that he didn’t try any, and I realized that pre-made list of interesting apples would have been very helpful. I promised that would not be an issue at the Portland Nursery.

The Portland Nursery arranges with various apple growers out of Hood River to obtain various apples and a few pears to taste and a few to sell for about 99 cents a pound. This year, they acquired 45 apples, 11 pears, and 4 Asian pears. They provided a handout of what fruit there was to sample, which included a little description about the origins if known, taste, and uses. The nursery staff cut up the apples and put them on labeled plates, which you then use a toothpick to pick up a sample, so the sampling goes much faster. Since there were so many people, you stand in line and then proceed though the samplings in alphabetical order.

I was a little bit disappointed with their selection this year, as about 15 of the apples seemed to be ones you could get from the grocery store. I seem to remember last year there being a better selection, including two my husband really loved that did not return this year. However, it has not been a good year for apples, so this could have been the root of the situation.

Wandering Aengus Ciderworks was also there with many ciders to sample (link may be temporary). What tickled me about this is that they had a lot of East Coast ciders that I normally can’t find here. Foolishly, I put my notebook away, and I kick myself for it.

The Portland Nursery Apple Tasting is probably a little easier for most people to deal with, and it is really kid friendly with a tent full of activities for children. They also had some fresh pressed apple juice to sample and buy, and they were also selling apple strudel. There was a table set up providing some samples of foods cooked with apples. Of course, the Nursery itself is open to sell plants and other gardening needs.

I think the biggest difference with this apple tasting is that it is aimed more at the apple consumer and finding apples you like to eat, where as the All About Fruit Show is aimed more at the home orchardist and finding apples you like to eat and grow.

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