Our young orchard has four apple trees in it, and each one has borne a bit of fruit this year. Our best apples for eating fresh are ready right now:
The bright red ones to the right are Galas; the purplish-red ones with green undertones are Macouns.
Both are delicious, with good texture and crunch. Galas strike me as sweeter, while Macouns are somewhat more tart, with an almost spicy tang to their skins (which of course must be eaten — who peels an apple for lunch?). I love, love, love them.
We only had a half dozen Macouns this year, and it's a somewhat finicky apple to grow, so we might never have huge crops. It's still worth it, though — if you can find them anywhere this fall, snatch up a big basket and eat them up while you can!
Our Gala tree, as you can see, is doing quite well this year. I suspect that many of our apples ripened kind of early (it's only mid-September, after all, and we've been picking them here and there since the end of August) because of insect damage. Such is the life of an organic orchardist, I suppose. They don't all look as perfect as what you might find in the grocery store, but I have yet to find an actual worm inside one. If you're willing to cut out (or just bite around) a bad spot now and then, the flavor is totally worth it.
Also, many of our apples are pretty small. I like them that way for eating, because you get skin — the best part! — in every bite, and you're done eating before it can get brown. We'll never make a living selling these small, funny-looking fruits to anyone, but we sure are eating well. Looks aren't everything, after all.