An Apple Bounty in California (& Recipe!)

Shoppers at San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market are familiar with the Saturday fall bounty from the Philo Apple Farm: the apples have been a staple since the market began, and the Philo Gold, the Apple Farm’s Golden Delicious, is a perennial pleaser.

Karen and Tim Bates, along with two of their children, run the 32-acre organic farm located in Philo just north of Boonville in Mendocino County, producing 80 varietals of apples. The likes of Chez Panisse, Zuni Cafe, and The French Laundry all buy their apples, but for those who can’t make it to the latter (or the farmers’ market), a trip to the farm shop is well worth the ride. Visitors can stay overnight on the farm and cooking classes led by Karen are also on offer. To learn more, see Down on the Farm in Philo.

N.B. Scroll down for Karen’s recipe for Savory Applesauce.

Photography by Sarah Lonsdale for Remodelista and Gardenista.

Above: A mix of the current crop of apples on display in terra cotta bowls. For another chic container option, see Bushel Baskets from New Hampshire.

Above: One of the 80 varietals of apples in the orchard ready for harvest. If you find yourself in a similar environment, consider extending your reach with a long handled fruit picker.

Above; Freshly harvested apples. The Philo Golds are in the foreground. What to do with them after they’re picked? See “5 Favorites: Winter Storage for Keeper Crops.”

Above: An English staple: the Bramley apple, a tart flavor typically used for cooking and, as Tim notes, a favorite of Karen’s. ”

Above: Guest cottages in the orchard with the apple boughs propped up with wooden bowls.

A Philo Apple Farm Recipe for Savory Applesauce

Peel and slice enough apples to almost fill a good sized heavy saucepan with a lid. Add apple juice to about halfway. Cover and cook until tender.

Add the following and stir vigorously: sugar to taste, salt, a generous chunk of butter, chopped fresh thyme. Cook for a few minutes longer. Serve with pork, game birds, or sausages.

Varieties: Gravenstein, Pink Apple, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Spitzenberg, Sierra Beauty, Astrachan.

See more on Gardenista.


Leena K.
Leena K5 years ago

Lovely ,tasty apples, thanks.

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey5 years ago

What I wouldn't give for a delicious Winesap apple. The only modern apple even remotely similar in taste is the Fudji apple. Golden Delicious apples are virtually tasteless, but sweet. The Cortland, McIntosh, Winsap even the Pippin have much better flavor.

Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago


Lynn D.
Lynn D5 years ago

Such a variety ! They look delicious, hope lots of people enjoy them! Thanks for article!

Katie D.

The pictures are so lovely, trees are so full have to be propped with stakes to hold the limbs with all of those apples!! Beautfiul! Always use Brown sugar when cookng apples, cinnamon and pinch of nutmeg. That's how grandma did it!

Lynn C.
Lynn C5 years ago

Wellll - with real ingredients - organic etc, - and cooked in a cast iron or stainless steel skillet - these could be called healthy. Coated pans are toxic when over heated, as they invariably are.
I wouldn't, knowingly, eat anything cooked in pots or pans that were coated. Why add to the load of chemicals if you're trying to detox?

Cheryl H.
Cheryl H5 years ago

The recipe is quite bland. Where is the cinnamon, nutmeg or other spices?

Thomas P.
Thomas P5 years ago

Thanks. These look good, but I'm an Empire guy by preference (I'm a New Yorker....go figure).

Rosie Jolliffe
Rosie Lopez5 years ago

mmmmmm apples!!

John B.
John B5 years ago

Thanks for sharing the great photos and the recipe.