Special to AOL from Sean Redlitz
When tallying the symbolic and metaphoric content found in the produce aisle, the apple ranks high, perhaps second only to the cherry. The garden of Eden, an apple for the teacher, an apple a day. Apple records. The Apple iPhone.
But for me, when I think "apple" the first thing that comes to mind is the unmistakable taste of a ripe Macoun. Cut one and notice how its purple-red skin contrasts beautifully with its snow white flesh. Bite one and discover a crisp, toothsome snap followed by a juicy rush of deep, almost wine-like sweetness.
Part of the magic of Macouns is that your opportunity to eat one is constrained geographically and temporally. They're only grown in the Northeast U.S., and they're only in season through October and November. Unlike some of its better-known kin, the Macoun is not bred to be a sturdy traveler; they bruise easily and don't last long on the shelf. Thus, you'll seldom come across one more than few hundred miles from where it's been picked.
If you find yourself in the Northeast in the next few weeks, make a beeline to the nearest greengrocer or farmers' market and taste what I and many other devotees consider to be the pinnacle of apple-snacking. Then mark your calendar for October 2008, and treasure the memory until then.
Editor's note: Mr. Redlitz lives in Los Angeles, where Macouns are hard to come by. I bought 12 Macouns at a farmer's market in Manhattan today and threatened to let them rot on my desk unless he wrote this piece. He'll be receiving an express mail package at his office within the next few days.
Make some Apple Bread Pudding tonight.