Portland Celebrates Apples

Every October, thousands of people visit Portland Nursery for its annual apple tasting. The nursery is in my neighborhood, so it’s a short walk from my house. Which is lucky, as the parking lot fills early, and the overflow parking lot, and the street parking. Portlanders love this event! I love that so many people show up – and even wait in long lines – to taste a bunch of apples.

The apple-hungry mob gathers.

To make the whole event more organized and scientific, you get a checklist and a tiny pencil with which to keep track of the apples. Each staff member must cut up hundreds of apples per day during the two-weekend event. Honestly, the apples are hard for me to tell apart after a while. I can mostly just tell sweet from tart and firmer from moister. Instead, I fally back on picking favorites by name, such as Northern Spy, Ashmead’s Kernel and Winter Banana.

I bet the staff get blisters from cutting so many apples.

One of the best parts of this year’s event was the contest in Scarecrow Alley. People entered their best attempts at scarecrows. First prize was a $100 gift certificate, and everybody who entered got a big bag of apples. Standouts were a Day of the Dead style mermaid, a giant crow and a giant eyeball.

I’d never seen a scarecrow based off of a Day of the Dead mermaid. Very original.

I don’t know if a crow is afraid of a giant eyeball, but I am.

A giant crow to scare a crow — I’m not sure what to make of that.

Nursery staff estimated 50,000 visitors over the two-weekend event last year. They thought the crowd was a bit smaller this year due to rain. The nursery samples many types of apples you may have never heard of. They also sell tons of them over the two weekends for the excellent price of 99 cents per pound, any variety.

Don’t ask me what kind of apple these are. After trying 40 kinds, I’ve lost the ability to tell them apart.

Hurray for such a wholesome event centering around a perfect vegan food – the apple!




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