I have lived long enough in New Mexico to have participated in a very New Mexican fall tradition, going to the Dixon’s Apple Orchard. We would go on a Sunday morning and patiently wait in a very long line of cars. Our reward for hours of wait time was to get a bushel of Champagne Apples.
Champagne Apples are the best apples I have ever tasted. A Honey Crisp Apple comes close but doesn’t match the entire experience of Champagne Apples. This apple trek became a fall ritual. Sadly, the orchard site was destroyed by a wildfire and flood in 2011.
But thanks to my dear friend Sharon, I was forwarded an email letting me know that Dixon’s Apple Orchard would return to Albuquerque with a truck filled of boxed apples from Wisconsin. These apples were Zestar Apples. I looked up Zestar because I really do not keep up on new apple varieties or their names. Zestar Apples came out of the University of Minnesota. They are a crisp variety. Zestar are crunchy and sweet with a tartness on the end of the flavor profile. I had no idea about any of this I only knew that if it came from Dixon’s, it would be a good apple. An apple that would be worth waiting in line. This event was also advertised in the Pasatiempo of the Santa Fe New Mexican on August 21, 2020.
Technology has made the wait very different than in the past. I signed up to be alerted as to when the Dixon truck was coming. When a date was determined, Sunday August 30. I signed up through my computer for an 11:30 spot in Albuquerque at the southwest corner of Eubank NE and Menaul NE.
We all were social distancing and wearing masks. I checked in and paid my 40 dollars for a half a bushel of Zestar Apples. Dixon’s Apple took cash, check or credit cars.
According to their email, Dixon’s Apples will be back in Albuquerque with Champagne Apples. They will be sending out an email so I can reserve these best ever apples. I’ll keep up updated on this.
In the meantime, I have a lot of apples to start eating.