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Why Red Gravenstein?

The Gravenstein (GRAH-vun-steen) apple is considered by many to be one of the best all-around apples, and is especially good for baking. Introduced from Germany, the apple is found most widely on the West Coast. Most Gravenstein apples have a delicate greenish skin streaked with red, but a few trees produce classically red apples. These trees are considered a sport rather than a true variety. Red Gravensteins were a special treat in the Skinner family, which owned a small orchard outside the Sonoma County (Calif.) town of Sebastopol. Red Gravensteins (or "Red Gravs") were saved for eating, while the normal Gravensteins were used for baking and cooking.

During the first half of the 20th century, Gravensteins were the major variety of apples grown in western Sonoma County, and supplied applesauce and dried apples for the troops in World War II. Many of the orchards are now gone due to a combination of development, a shift to wine production, and economic changes in the apple industry.
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