Taste the New Crop From Our Local Gizdich Apple Ranch

We are thrilled to share with you one of our favorite Fall arrivals – New Crop Apples from Gizdich Apple Ranch.

Gizdich Ranch, a 67-acre Watsonville farm has a family history going back into the early 1930’s when Vince Gizdich’s grandfather bought the original 10-acre plot in Watsonville.  Today, the third generation of the family, Vince and Nita Gizdich, along with their two sons, lives on the farm. The farm is renowned for its barn-red buildings that remind visitors of covered wagons of pioneer days.

Years ago, Vince Gizdich’s parents opened a retail shop for fresh fruit and home baked pies.  They introduced Pik-Yer-Sef for apples and fresh berries.  School children arrive on field trips to receive a tour of the farm, pick fresh fruit, and watch apple juice or cider being processed. There is an antique shop, featuring an impressive collection of antique apple peelers, hanging from the ceiling.

The Delicious Apples

The Gizdich Ranch produces 14 varieties of apples in all.  Honey Crisp, Empire, Royal Gala, Newton Pippin, Red Delicious and Macintosh are late summer – early autumn favorites:

  • Honey Crisp: Cross between a Macoun and Honeygold. Large, crisp, juicy eating apple.
  • Empire: A cross between a McIntosh and Delicious apple.  It has a deep red color and crisp, juicy flesh that has a mildly tart but sweet flavor. Great for snacks, baking and salads.
  • Royal Gala: Early harvest dessert apple. Orange and yellow with red blush. Sweet, sort of crisp. Great for snacks, salads, lunchboxes. It’s not a cooking apple.  They have a nicely rounded shape and can vary in color from cream to bright cherry-red. The typical Gala has a creamy hue with up to 50% red blush. Gala apples are the first apples of the season and are available from mid-July through December.
  • Newton Pippin: Green with a distinct mottled collar. Tart, crisp, juicy. Great for pies, sauce, juicing and eating. When cooked, retains its flavor and shape. Shelf life in a cool spot is 5+ months.  The Pippin is a medium-sized, light green coated antique American variety. It is grown almost exclusively in California and Oregon, with a few still produced in Virginia. The Pippin was the first American variety exported in volume to Europe. California offers this variety from late August through mid-November.
  • Red Delicious: Striped to solid red with a distinct strawberry shape. Crisp, sweet and great for eating and lunchboxes. NOT a cooking apple. Keeps well for 3 months.  These popular apples have earned their name and their reputation. Sweet and flavorful with 11 to 15 percent sugar, Delicious apples have a taste and crisp juicy texture that is familiar to everyone.  California Delicious apples are harvested in late August, can generally be found in the market in fall and early winter.
  • McIntosh: Very old variety. Red and green. Tart, tender, juicy. Great for eating out of hand, salads, sauces, pies and cider. When cooked, loses shape but retains its flavor. Shelf life 1 to 2 months. McIntosh has juicy white flesh and a rather tough skin that has mixed red and green coloring. McIntosh apples are available in California beginning in August through early November.

Integrated Pest Management Makes for a Healthy Crop

The Ranch uses Integrated Pest Management (releasing and creating habitat for “good” bugs that are the natural predators of “bad” bugs on an apple farm), rather than a relying on synthetic toxins to keep apple-pests at bay.

Finally, along with all the rich variety and flavor of New Crop Apples, they also contain an excellent amount of fiber, vitamin C, and are rich in antioxidants (especially Red Delicious).

Fall Activities at the Farm

The Gizdich Apple Farm hosts an Apple Butter Festival the third Saturday of October.  Everyone gets involved in the process of peeling and butter stirring.  No wonder the fun and games bring up to 1000 people to the Ranch, with the added attractions of hayrides, antique engine displays, and a pumpkin patch!

Come Try Them!

Please ask for a sample anytime and try some of the best apples this new fall season! Then, send us your favorite apple recipe and we might share it with others in our article. Please send it to share@sigonas.com


Robbie Sigona

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