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From the Desk of County Commissioner
 Marty Qually

(10/2014) We all know the expression, "Comparing apples to apples". In Adams County that expression always falls flat to me. During September in our County you can expect to find the following uniquely tasty Apples at our local markets and no two are the same. To give you a small taste of our large selection of local apples, this month you may find Summer Mac, Summer Rambo, Jonomac, Fulford Gala, Blondee, Crimson Gala, Brookfield Gala, Buckeye Gala, Ultima Gala, Marshall Mcintosh, Honeycrisp, Daybreak Fuji, Crimsoncrisp, Crimson Gold, Royal Court, Cortland, Autumn Crisp, Golden Delicious, and Freedom, just to name a few. That does not include the 32 varieties that wonít be ripe until October. So buy a few and compare them for yourself.

Another expression we use is when we call someone, a "peach", which means that they are beautiful, excellent, or sweet. But which kind of peach? While the peach season is winding down you may still find, Glohaven, Coralstar, Veteran, Bounty, Suncrest, Sweet Breeze, Sweet Dream, Glowingstar, Cresthaven, Messina, Redskin, Jerseyqueen, Summerfest, encore, Victoria, and five varieties that donít have real names yet, just scientific numbers.

I love how the variety names give you a glimpse of how the fruit tastes, looks, or gives you a feeling of the Season, in which it was harvested. Names like Red Delicious, Honey Crisp, or Summerfest. I once spoke with a peach grower about how they come up with the names. He told me a story about how every day in the Summer he would bring home test fruit from the nursery. Every season the nursery would create new varieties and grow a few trees to see if they liked them prior to committing to full production. Eventually the neighborhood kids would know to come around and get samples. At this point in a new varieties life it doesnít have a name, just a laboratory number (for example PF-15 or PF 9-007). So the kids were dancing around asking for the delicious peaches that he had last year, and the lab name just didnít sound right. Well watching the kids dance around, gave him the idea to call them Tangos and the name stuck. I bring up these names and the naming process to highlight how intimate our connection is with our farming community.

Too often we think that the "good old days" of local produce are gone and that the best we can do is the occasional local food section of our grocery markets. Truth is, itís easier than you think to reconnect to the way things used to be. Or better yet to connect with the way things still are.

Take Hollabaugh Brothers fruit stand in Biglerville as an example. In the beginning of their orchard they simply had a one room fruit stand on the side of the road. Most of their sales came from buyers driving through our County buying truckloads of fruit to ship to the cities. The sales from the fruit stand were nice, but not the driver of their business. The fruit stand turned into a small market. They started carrying other items from other orchards and farms, as well as more traditional country gift shop items. When I was a child, the coolest thing was their bee hive display. You could see the bees coming in through pipes on the outside of the wall right into their hive. Drive by there now and you will see a much larger Farmerís Market that is comparable to some small town grocery stores. There is still space dedicate to educating children about the importance of bees in pollenating the trees.

Or take Boyerís Nursery outside of Arendtsville, home of my earliest and most lasting apple cider memories. The apple varieties and bins may have changed, but the free cider is still sitting in the same spot and the scents as you walk in the door havenít changed a bit. The Boyerís however have also now branched out to include a full scale home and garden center Nursery operation. They started it as a way to supplement the income from the Nursery, but slowly it has become a real driver of their profits.

The world changes, but some traditions are worth watching as they progress through the years. Some of the apple and peach varieties we enjoyed as children have been replaced with new ones. The roadside stands have become roadside markets. The fruit nursery has become a home and garden center. But the smell of Fall still drives us into the mountains to get fresh apples and that short drive to visit the nursery is worth it. The time it takes to pull over to a roadside stand and buy a dozen ears of corn is worth it. We live in a beautiful and bountiful place. Take the time to visit a farmerís roadside stand or one of our larger markets to learn from the growers the details of what they are providing. And donít just buy peaches and apples, itís just as easy to buy eggs, milk, cheese, corn, zuchinni, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, pees, lima beans (my wifeís favorite), lettuce, fresh pork and beef, pastries, locally roasted coffee, local honey, and the list just keeps on going and the article has to stop somewhere.

So remember, "You are what you eat", and in Adams County we are blessed with so many farmerís markets that there is no reason not to stop and taste the wonders of Adams County.

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