After tasting hundreds of apple varieties for several years at the Cloud Mountain Fruit Festival in Whatcom County, Wa., I repeatedly settled on Elstar Apples as the best. They are crunchy, juicy, sweet, tart, complicated flavor and medium sized. Elstars, besides being heavenly eating, make prize winning pies, apple sauce with no sugar or spices needed, and are amazing dried. Four years ago I got to taste an even better apple, Esopus spitzenburg which was Thomas Jefferson's favorite apple. I had one grafted and am growing it up now.