Portland Nursery’s two-weekend long Apple Tasting Fest is a supersized fruit treasure. But somewhere between the hourlong wait to taste 60-plus varietals of Northwest apples and the face painting and the clowns and the crowds jostling for the best apples in the bins, it can all get a little overwhelming and impersonal.*
This Saturday, Providore’s Rubinette Produce Market offers a smaller batch alternative: The Ripening promises a chill, free tasting of around 20 of the best apple and pear varieties local growers (including Kiyokawa Family Orchards, Baird Family Orchards, and others) have to offer, with fruit dorks on hand to talk shop and offer recipes, and a cider press and caramel apple pops to keep the kiddos busy.
Which apples, you ask? We’re talking Elstars and Libertys, Crimson Crisps and Swiss Gourmets—lesser-known varietals you rarely see at big box markets. Even the pink fleshed, cotton candy-meets-fruit punch sweet Mountain Rose, which boasts a backstory so curious we devoted a post to it.
PoMo’s already written/gushed a bit about Rubinette, too. The tiny market is overseen by Josh Alsberg, an excitable fount of edible lore and flavor descriptors, with help from his wife and “Director of Harvest Hype” Jessica Alsberg. Here’s what Alsberg had to say about the market's namesake Rubinette apples, which will also be available for tasting at the Ripening, in our September feature about beloved local fruits and veggies:
How obsessed is Josh Alsberg with apples? He named his grocery store after his favorite one. Rubinette is a paean to seasonal treasures—first and foremost the rare, red and green striped fruit, which starts dropping in September. “My first Rubinette, 10 years ago when I worked at New Seasons, was a real fruit dork moment,” he reminisces. “It’s just apple joy: crisp, juicy, firm flesh; sweet and then a wave of robust tartness that washes over your tongue. It’s the apple all apples aspire to be.”
See? Now that is a dude you want to taste fruit with.
11 a.m.–3 p.m. Sat, Oct 14, Rubinette Produce Market at Providore Fine Foods, FREE
* You should absolutely still go to Portland Nursery’s apple-palooza, especially if you have kids in tow. Just go to the Ripening, too. You can never try too many apples.