Migliorelli Farm’s produce stand in Rhinebeck, NY is a hidden gem for those who know the area. Its fresh, farm-grown produce is a draw for both locals and tourists who have discovered it while driving past. The stand is bustling as the season begins to turn—shoppers know that fall is when Migliorelli Farm’s famous apples come out by the basketful.
Apple season at Migliorelli’s Rhinebeck Farm Stand kicks off in August with the arrival of the Zestars, the first apples of the season, and ends in December when the stall closes. Stall attendant Rupali Rifenburg notes that this has been a good season for the apples. “Obviously an early frost is going to hurt the production,” she explains, “but this has been a beautiful summer so far.”
Rifenburg grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY. She fondly recalls how she would pick apples every fall with her friends, in a farm that once stood behind her childhood home. “When I was a kid I remember getting apples off of the trees just outside of our back yard, it was an adventure, and the taste of it was just incredible. I haven’t found that kind of freshness in apples until I started working here. Knowing that these are the freshest apples–it’s kind of made me an apple snob,” she says with a laugh, “It’s hard in the winter time, come December and January I’m going to have to get them from the grocery store.” Rifenburg’s three kids enjoy the fresh produce she brings home as much as she does, “Sometimes they would rather eat these apples than eat ice cream,” she says.
Juliana Clark, a Rhinebeck local who has been coming to the produce stand for years, agrees that fresh produce is important. Clark stops by several times a week to buy produce which she often cooks for dinner that same day. “It’s very convenient,” Clark says of her neighborhood stand, “I’ve even brought something back that wasn’t as fresh as I would have liked, and they took it back no questions asked.”
Karen Ranucci, a mycologist who is visiting the area to forage for mushrooms, says she just saw the stand and stopped by for lunch. Ranucci and Rifenburg strike up a discussion about how to store their favorite produce, Ranucci speaks of mushrooms and Rifenburg of apples. “I’ve learned so much about apples since I started working here, more than I ever knew you could know,” says Rifenburg, “When I would buy them from the grocery store I just kind of picked whatever was there, but now I know what each type of apple tastes like and what time of year they come out. There are so many different flavors. For example,” she says, showing an empty basket of under a sign for Honey Crisp apples, “these are everyone’s favorite–the Cadillac of apples, the crown jewel.” Rifenburg reminds me how good this summer has been for the apples, but explains that it’s a give-and-take situation. “For tomatoes it hasn’t been so great, they like the heat. So while the apples grow well, the tomatoes struggle. Everything needs something different,” she says of the produce, “I’ve learned to see it that way.”