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WATCH: A Visit to the Apple Orchard with Thrive Market

Last Update: April 10, 2023

Apple sauce probably conjures up memories of kindergarten snack time—and in fact, that very well may be the last time you had it.. But with no added sugar and all the nutritional benefits of a whole apple, this single-ingredient snack is a healthy option for all ages. And once you know the story behind Thrive Market’s organic apple sauce, you’re going to want to add some to your next order. 

Autumn in Apple Country

Nothing says fall like a crisp, clear morning at an apple orchard, and that’s exactly what our Los Angeles-based video team was treated to when we traveled up north to visit the cannery where Thrive Market’s organic apple sauce is made.

Sonoma County, California is famous for its wine grapes, but we learned that apple farming is also popular in the region; at one farm we visited, apple trees and grapevines actually grow side by side. 

That chilly and bright November morning, we strolled through an apple orchard where some of the trees have been standing since 1900. On this multi-generational family farm, growers use sustainable practices that take advantage of the unique environment, like dry farming, which allows apple trees to essentially water themselves during the damp season and eliminating the need for traditional irrigation.

Farmers pick Rome Beauties and Fuji apples by hand, and soon afterward the fruit makes the short journey to a cannery in nearby Sebastopol, which has been making apple sauce and other apple products for 100 years.

A Century of Goodness

Although the cannery has modernized quite a bit over the years, it retains a connection to its turn-of-the-century roots: the original processing equipment can still be found in a barn across the street from the main facility. 

The rusty springs and hand-operated cranks have since been replaced by conveyor belts and automated filling machines, but the process of turning apples into apple sauce is still relatively simple—just like the recipe, which consists of nothing but the best quality organic apples. 

Upon arrival at the cannery, apples are weighed, cleaned, and sorted. Then they’re chopped, cooked, pureed, and packaged into glass jars, cups, or pouches. To eliminate waste, imperfect apples are reserved to make Thrive Market organic apple cider vinegar, while cores and peels go to local pig farms to be used as organic feed.

Cooking with Apple Sauce

Apple sauce is more than a healthy snack; it’s also a pantry staple that can lighten up (and even vegan-ize) your favorite baking recipes. 

Apple Sauce Banana Bread Recipe

Not only can apple sauce replace butter and oil in recipes, like this banana bread, but it also lends luscious, moist texture. 

Apple Cider Donuts Recipe 

You can replicate one of the best parts of going apple-picking by making these baked donuts. 

Vegan Fig Carrot Cake Recipe

Layered with creamy cashew-based frosting and drizzled with caramel sauce, this elegant plant-based cake is worthy of a celebration.

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Kirby Stirland

Kirby Stirland is a writer, editor, and New York transplant living in Los Angeles.

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