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Tasmanian Apples
Tasmania country

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson And Roger McShane
Address: Tasmania
Country: Australia

Freshly picked Tasmanian apples are a treat to eat 'in the hand' or cooked. The most commonly grown are Democrats, Red Fuji (especially popular with the Japanese market), Granny Smiths, Jonathans, and Red and Golden Delicious. Less common are Pink Ladies, Jonogold and Braeburn, a delicious eating apple. Look for the old-fashioned varieties such as Coxes Orange Pippin too. These need to have been just picked, though.
Most varieties of apples are available in the shops in March and April, though Democrats and Croftons can be found later in the year, in May and June. Granny Smiths are particularly good for cooking in pies, tarts and crumbles.
Look out for roadside signs advertising apples and pears. Most are sold on an honour system. You help yourself from a small stall or shed and leave the money in a tin or a bucket.
Pears are grown in large numbers on the Tasman Peninsula in the south. The main varieties are Packham, Beurre Bosc, Josephine, Glu Morceau and Winter Cole. Beurre Bosc is grown mainly for the export market. Locally, Winter Coles are a generous variety, providing us with neat, sweet eating pears through most of the winter. The Doyenne du Comice, featured in Stephanie's Australia, are a special treat. They are grown by the Hansen family at Nubeena. Sweetwater Pears, near Dilston on the Tamar River, is open daily from February to July and offers free tastings as well as sales.
Some small producers are now producing commercial quantities of cider too. Look out for Tasmanian Inn cider, a bottle-fermented sparkling cider made predominantly from Sturmer Pippins, which is delicious served chilled after a hard afternoon's work in the garden! Tasmanian Inn cider has no preservatives or flavouring additives. It's made by Natural Fruit Beverages, which also produces Dr Benjafield's organic apple juice, made with a blend of heritage apples. Dr Benjafield was one of those nineteenth-century colonial optimists who showed his political colours by naming the apple he grafted the Democrat! There is also a very good apple juice produced by Lucaston Park Orchards.
The Huon Valley Apple Industry Museum, 'The Grove', at Huonville, is well worth visiting. It presents a vivid picture of what life has been like for families involved in the industry in this pretty district and you can get some idea of just how many varieties of apples have been grown in Tasmania.
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