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Rider And Sons Jonagold Apple Is Simply The Best

If you want the best tasting Jonagold apple, look no further than Rider and Sons 5th generation apple orchardists. Rider is located in the small town of Freedom, along the Central Coast of California near Watsonville.  Jim Rider is in charge of the fields and his brother Dick Rider oversees the packing shed.  Their grandfather Homer was one of the pioneer fruit growers in the Watsonville area along the Central Coast in California.

Rider and Sons is the only California grower we know that picks the Jonagold apple at its optimum maturity and flavor. The best tasting Jonagold will have developed a beautiful golden background before it is picked. This means it has been on the tree longer and has more flavor. Jim Rider says the apples are ready to be harvested when “they have a hint of yellow in the background color.”  Most growers pick it too early when the background is green and the flavor has not developed. This has been our experience of the Pacific Northwest Jonagold.

Jonagold (7)

The Watsonville area has a unique microclimate with cooler summer weather similar to San Francisco. This allows them to grow better quality apples and harvest closer to peak maturity more than warmer climates. Jonagolds require special care and attention and are selectively picked riper than most areas could. The fruit ripens slower in the cooler climate and develops the complex flavor components that can be lost with higher temperatures. Rider’s philosophy is to get them off the tree, picked and packed within a day or two and shipped immediately to be sold quickly at optimum maturity. Rider’s workers are trained to pick slowly with an eye for detail and will pick the orchard several times in order to deliver a riper, sweet and better tasting fruit. Their goal is not to store it for months and months.

Jim Rider calls Watsonville the Napa valley of apple growing areas. The apples have a more intense flavor and better quality because of the cooler temperatures. Click here for an interview with Jim Rider in the Jonagold orchards.  In our own history as the apple season goes up to the Pacific North West, the flavor and quality of the Jonagold is not duplicated. Enjoy California apples during the short but sweet season.

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