anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Fall/Winter Reading: Comestible Issue 6

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If you’re looking for something to curl up with as the days get colder and darker, consider checking out the latest issue of Comestible.

Comestible is my bi-annual food zine, dedicated to showcasing where food comes from, and using food as a lens for looking at other issues like economics, gender, etc. It’s filled with art, essays and recipes.

In Issue 6, we cover everything from the effects of the immigration crackdown on farmworkers to kimjang, the Korean tradition of making kimchi.

For a little taste, here is a short excerpt from a piece called “Stick by Stick” by Kirsten K. Shockey of Ferment Works, all about the enormous job of preserving heirloom apples.

“What kind of apples do you recommend for hard cider?” Christopher ventured. Christopher and I live, work, and raised our family on a small holding in the mountains of southern Oregon. When we bought our hilly homestead, our goal was to be self-sufficient and leave the land better than we found it. This has led us to many remarkable farmers who have generously shared wisdom not found in books. That day, we sat there gazing at Nick like initiates around a sage, waiting for the meaning of life. Or at least the meaning of apples.

Nick, in his late seventies, was hard of hearing and seemed content to be enjoying his coffee.

Christopher looked at me. “What kind of apples would you suggest for hard cider?” he said again, this time much louder.

Our land, cut from mountains blanketed in fir and pine forests, is suited to trees, not row crops. We were planting a cider orchard to join the ninety-year-old pioneer-planted apples. We wanted to honor the older apples by finding unique heirloom varieties.

“There are a lot of great apples for cider,” Nick said and we both stared, pen in hand, waiting to scribble down varieties we’d never heard of. He told us a good cider apple contributes to one or more of four components: color, flavor, body, or bouquet. He didn’t drop any variety names though.

“Do you have the Redstreak?” Christopher asked hopefully. During the eighteenth century, this apple was believed to be the finest cider apple in England. At the time, cider made from the Redstreak commanded the highest prices. Its popularity had diminished by the end of the century and its believed viruses may have killed remaining trees. Now the apple is rare, even thought to be extinct, as breeders are unsure if the claimed Redstreaks are authentic Redstreaks.

“Yes, I believe I do,” Nick said. “Would you like to see the orchard?”

Order a copy of the issue here.

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Written by Anna Brones

October 16, 2017 at 18:33

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