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Falling Hard for Organic Cuyama Apples

Image of Cuyama
Not all apples can take the heat of Southern California’s long summers and mild winters. But there’s a unique little pocket of land, at the uppermost part of Cuyama Valley where Ventura and Santa Barbara counties meet, where cool mountain nights temper hot days—it’s the type of Mediterranean climate few select varieties of apples find really cozy.

Here, you’ll find row upon row of thriving, organic cultivars like the classic American heirloom Crimson Gold or the bloodred painted Arkansas Black. This Eden of apples is Cuyama Orchards, home to some of the sweetest, crunchiest organic apples in the great Golden State.
Image of Cuayama grower
You can thank the Albano family for serving Southern California with tasty non-GMO apples for over 20 years. In 1992, patriarch, Howard Albano took a chance by planting apple trees on 20 acres in front of his farmhouse in Cuyama Valley. Today his family tends to 265 acres of thriving organic trees.
Image of Cuyama Apple Custards
Varieties

Gala
Slight sweet flavor and floral aroma.

Sweetie
Gala’s sweeter, crunchier cousin.

Honeycrisp
Sweet-tart flavor keeps sweet even when cooked.

Bene Shogun Fuji
Juicy with a distinctive apple sweet aroma.

Granny Smith
A tart, acidic, yet subtly sweet flavor.

Crimson Gold
Mini and sweet-tart with a gratifying crunch.

Nagafu Fuji
Very sweet with hints of honey and citrus.

Arkansas Black
Cidery notes meet deep, red-black skin.

Pink Lady
Crisp, sweet taste and slightly tart finish.

Which apples are best for baking?
The basic rule is simple: the firmer the apple, the better the bake. Firm apples hold their shape in the oven and don’t turn to mush. So, if you aim to make an apple crisp—not apple sauce—go for Cuyama’s Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Crimson Gold, Gala, Arkansas Black, and, of course, Granny Smith apples (the OG baking apple).

Picking the right apple for the right recipe gets a little more complicated when you break down the Brix level. Brix is a measurement of sweetness—something you don’t want much of because most desserts are sweet enough. Granny Smiths are the perennial favorite baking apple because they’re tart, mildly acidic, and not too sweet. These characteristics provide complexity and balance to your favorite apple desserts.

Make It
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