When I was born, my parents planted a tree. It was a leggy little Macoun scion on semi-dwarf rootstock, and they stuck it into the summer lawn of dandelions and dry grass, back by the chain link fence that separated our house from the neighbors'. Remarkably, it thrived. All the years of my childhood, as I tended vegetable beds and imaginary worlds in the back yard, it stood over me. In the summer, I picked the hard, green apples and carved them into tiny bowls for my fairy feasts, setting them alongside raspberry goblets and plates made of leaves. In the early fall, I scrambled up the tree to pick under-ripe apples, and weeks later, returned to gather wormy windfalls. These I dissected for my father's pies, carefully scooping out the bruises with the curved end of a potato peeler, before cutting out their rotten hearts.
The Macoun has become my Platonic apple ideal. It is a beautiful apple, blushed dusky purple over green, with dense, white flesh. It fits comfortably in hand, and has a satisfyingly tangy-sweet crunch. It makes good pies. When I look for apples for the bakery, weighing their density in my palm, pressing to feel for firmness or give, tasting for a little sour and bitter beneath the sweet, the Macoun, or perhaps my memory of it, is my guide.
The back fence is now wood, and half hidden by a riot of dark-leafed perennials. The rest of the seedy lawn was long ago paved over with a patio, or turned to make way for more vegetable beds. The trees in the neighbors' yards have grown, as trees do, making a living wall to either side and giving the garden something of the feel of a forest glade, hidden away from the concrete and sirens of the city. And at the center, despite years of alternating neglect and over-pruning, my Macoun still stands, reaching its watersprouts towards the retreating sun.
I have a limited market lineup today because I figured a lot of you are probably still too full from Thanksgiving to think about baked goods. If you've recovered from your tryptophan-induced stupor, come early to get your bread and pastry before they sell out!
Red & White, Mountain Rye, Vollkornbrot
Bittersweet Chocolate and Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies
Wild & Seedy (again- because it's my favorite)
See you soon!
Owner | Baker
POSTSCRIPT: I went to see Dave Montgomery speak at Village Books last month. He's a UW geomorphologist and who looks like The Dude and won a MacArthur for his side project writing about ag soils. His latest book, Growing the Revolution, falls in scope between Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, which took a birds eye view of agricultural erosion over millennia, and The Hidden Half of Nature, which started an exploration of soil microbiology in his Seattle yard. Growing the Revolution makes a compelling case for conservation agriculture and for using soil health as the metric by which we measure good farming. His case studies span the globe and farming practices, from Kansas cash-cropping to Ghanaian slash and burn subsistance farming. And if that isn't enough to catch your interest, how about the fact that this is an optimistic book about the environment? You heard me right. I just used optimistic and environment in the same sentence without irony. Read it.