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Melanie Wong | Sep 3, 200004:51 AM     3

If you're looking for something to do this weekend, head up to Russian River Valley in western Sonoma County and grab the end of the season Gravenstein apples. Look for farmstands along HWY 116-Gravenstein Highway near the towns of Sebastopol, Graton and Forestville. They'll be gone by next week.

I bought two 30# boxes (50 cents/lb) on Thursday. The heady floral aromas in the car were nearly intoxicating. One box went to Aunty Ruby, and the other was for my mom.

Mom made an apple cake yesterday, and used some of the ripest ones to make applesauce. Sauce is a snap her way - just peel and core the apples, cut into big chunks, microwave for 5 mins., take out and mash a bit, microwave for another 5 to 10 mins. depending on power, add a bit of cinnamon and sugar to taste. Don't add any water. So much character and intensity, great texture too. Tomorrow we're making pies and more applesauce.

While you're in the area, check out Wildflour bakery in Freestone on the Bohemian Highway (only open on weekends). These people are great, great breadmakers. Last week I had a chocolate apple bread which had bits of apple and a few shavings of dark chocolate in a firm country loaf - a unique taste, only for the season.

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