As Apples Size, It’s Raining Berries

Can you name these three varieties at such a small size? See answers below. (Russell Steven Powell)

They will continue to gain size and color between now and harvest.
These young apples at Carlson Orchards, Harvard, Massachusetts, have doubled in size since these photos were taken a month ago.

IN JUST A FEW SHORT WEEKS, apple season will begin. The earliest varieties — heirlooms like Red Astrachan and Yellow Transparent, and newer ones like Vista Bella and Lodi — will be harvested before the end of July in some locations.

These early varieties share more than the season with berries; like berries, they have a relatively short shelf life and should be enjoyed soon after harvest.

It’s high season for red raspberries and other berries at New England orchards. (Russell Steven Powell)

While most apples are known for their excellent storage qualities, these first few varieties are available for only a few weeks. But they offer great apple taste and a hint of what’s to come.

Between now and when the apple harvest begins, New England’s orchards are overflowing with berries, especially blueberries and raspberries. Peaches are not far behind!

Check our Orchard Finder to see who is growing what, and be sure to call ahead to see what’s picking. An excellent berry crop is predicted for the region.

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Whether baked in a pan or ramekin, these muffins burst with blueberry flavor. (Bar Lois Weeks)

THE BEST THING about these Whole-wheat Blueberry Muffins is their outstanding fruit flavor. They are delicious and healthy, made with whole-wheat flour and yogurt, with local honey for sweetener. New England-grown blueberries are their freshest and most flavorful grown close to home.

Blueberries are even sweeter than apples, so substituting local honey for refined sugar results in muffins that are not simply sweet, but rich with blueberry flavor. The yogurt and eggs keep the texture light.

Blueberries, like apples, are as beautiful to look at as they are to eat. (Russell Steven Powell)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 12-muffin tin or line with paper muffin liners.  

Measure and wash 1-1/2 c fresh blueberries (or use unthawed frozen)  

In medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: 

1 c whole-wheat flour 
1/4 c whole-wheat pastry flour 
1-1/2 t baking powder 
1/2 t baking soda 
1-1/2 t cinnamon 
1/4 t fine salt 

In large bowl, whisk together wet ingredients:  

2 eggs, room temperature 
1/2 c oil  
1/2 c local honey 
1/2 c yogurt 
1 t vanilla 

Healthy whole-wheat, blueberry muffins are sweetened with local honey. (Bar Lois Weeks)

Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in blueberries. 

Evenly fill muffin tin.

Optional: Sprinkle with the delicate caramel-flavored turbinado sugar or for a crunchy top, try a raw sugar like demerara. 

Bake 17-18 minutes or until toothpick comes clean. 

Cool on a drying rack before serving.

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YOUNG APPLES, left to right above, top to bottom:

EverCrisp apple. (Bar Lois Weeks)
McIntosh apple. (Bar Lois Weeks)
Idared apple. (Bar Lois Weeks)