"The sweet and tart flavors of the Gravenstein Apple are symbols of Sonoma County’s historical agricultural traditions. The Gravenstein, which was first planted in Sonoma County in 1811 by Russian trappers, ripens in late July—making it one of the first apples in North America ready for market. The apple has a crisp and juicy texture and a flavor that is aromatic and full of old-fashioned, sweet and tart flavor.
Gravensteins are in danger of becoming broadly extinct because of many reasons, the most observable of which is their difficulty to harvest. The apples have short stems and the trees produce ripe apples at different times throughout the harvest season. They are also extremely delicate and perishable. This fruit is also losing out because of an alarming loss of land, as many orchards are being converted to vineyards or rural estates. During the past six decades, Sonoma County’s Gravenstein orchards have declined by almost 7,000 acres and are currently down to 960 acres. There are only six commercial growers remaining in Sonoma County. Together, their crop totals 15,000 tons of Gravenstein Apples a year." --- Slow Food USA