Apples, cider take away sting of summer heat

CANFIELD – Six-year-old Bailey Garlow knows why Ed Tesner’s apple cider is so popular at the Canfield Fair.

“Because it tastes so yummy. Because it’s delicious,” she said as she held her cup with both hands and smiled.

With temperatures reaching into the 90s and the sun in full reign overhead, some fairgoers this weekend were taking a sip of fall to escape the sun’s wrath.

Garlow and her mom, Gina, of Northfield, had just finished up with some rides and decided to stop at the popular apple stand.

Gina Garlow said she’s been taking her daughter to the fair every year since she was born, despite the 50-minute drive.

“We’re fair people,” she said. And the cider is a must, because they’re also fall people.

Ashley Secosky, 31, of Steubenville, could be seen perusing the display of apples with an eager look on her face.

“I like the red ones,” she said, and if she had to pick just one, it would be the darkest red – red delicious.

“They’re juicy. They’re all local and home grown. They taste better,” she said of the local harvest.

Secosky said she doesn’t like apple pies, preferring to eat the fruit raw.

But Melea Strimple, 38, of Pittsburgh and formerly of Champion, said she’d take them either way as she took a few photographs of the display.

“They’re just really beautiful,” she said between shots. “Love ’em.”

Strimple and her daughter, Eve, 10, lamented the fact that they couldn’t buy some of the apples on display, as they were part of the exhibit for this year’s apple contest.

“Honey crisp, that’s our favorite,” she said. “We always try to buy local.”

Tesner, owner of the former Ed’s Produce Market in Austintown, has been bringing his apples to the Canfield Fair for 51 years, selling them and his popular cider.

He grows his apples on a small farm in New Waterford specially for selling at the fair, and doesn’t sell them anywhere else.

“The apples are called mollies. It’s an earlier apple, just picked this past week. They’re a good eating apple and you can make pies with them,” he explained.

“This is the first place people stop, they tell me,” he said, adding that his apples are not only healthy – they’re one of the most inexpensive things at the fair at 75 cents an apple or $3.50 per bag.

Tesner said they go through about 100 bags a day.

And while the hot weather can be a challenge, it also helps to sell the cider.

But what sets his cider apart from the rest?

“The flavor,” he said. “It’s all made this year.”

The recipe, though, is top secret. It’s been that way as long as he’s been bringing apples to the fair.

How many people know the secret?

“Just me,” he said with a smile.

bhazen@tribtoday.com