It's fall. Time to pick apples. For some of us, that's casual recreation, a leisurely stroll through picturesque orchards.

For tens of thousands of people, though, it's a paycheck. They drive hundreds of miles for the apple harvest in central Washington, western Michigan, the shores of Lake Ontario in upstate New York, and Adams County, Pa.

"The truth is, every apple that you see in the supermarket is picked by hand," says Philip Baugher, who runs a fruit tree nursery in Adams County.

Host Jill Spears is joined by regular gardening experts Lance Swigart & Lulu Volckhausen, and special guest Frank Stonaker of Osito Orchard on Rogers Mesa west of Hotchkiss.

There's an apple renaissance underway, an ever-expanding array of colors and tastes in the apple section of supermarkets and farmers markets.

Less visible is the economic machinery that's helping to drive this revolution. An increasing number of these new apples are "club apples" — varieties that are not just patented, but also trademarked and controlled in such a way that only a select "club" of farmers can sell them.

To understand the new trend, start with the hottest apple variety of recent years: Honeycrisp.

It's apple season, and if you go to the supermarket you'll find the usual suspects: Red and Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, MacIntosh. But these big, shiny, perfect apples often look better than they taste. Thankfully, there's a whole world of heirloom apples out there — fruit that may look funky, but tastes fantastic, with flavors unlike any you've tried before.

The Comeback Of The Endangered Colorado Orange, An Apple

Sep 10, 2014

The Colorado Orange is not an orange, in color or essence.

"It is an apple, with a unique texture and taste. It has a little bit of a citrus bite," says Paul Telck, one of the few people today to have tasted the apple – a yellow fruit with an occasional red blush, once thought to be extinct.

A few years ago, Telck, who owns an orchard in Fremont County, southwest of Colorado Springs, knew little about the Colorado Orange. Now, he's involved in an effort to bring it and other endangered Colorado apples back from the brink of extinction.

Flowercat via Flickr (CC-NC-SA)

The height of the fruit season is approaching here in western Colorado, so for this week’s iSeeChange report, we decided to zoom out a bit and look at how Colorado’s biggest fruit crop fits into the national scene.  


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  • More Cases of West Nile Virus Confirmed in Delta County
  • iSeeChange - Apple Economics of Western Colorado