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By Corky Mau
She’s made caramel Pink Ladies her business
Some people love sweets. Not me. Not until I bit into a decadent concoction of caramel, dark chocolate-covered coffee beans, almonds and toffee over a chilled, crispy apple. This was my initiation to the “applesbyterri” fan club. Longtime Pocket resident Terri Fong-Martinez is the brains behind these dessert-on-a stick creations.
Caramel apples are synonymous with fall, especially Halloween. Coincidentally, Oct. 31 is National Caramel Apple Day. Supposedly, the first caramel apple was created in the 1950s by a Kraft Foods employee. He was experimenting. The rest is history.
Fong-Martinez started her business in 2015, but the journey to create an adult-style gourmet caramel apple began long before.
“About 10 years ago, I was craving a caramel apple. It wasn’t Apple Hill season and I couldn’t find caramel apples anywhere. So, I decided to make my own,” she says. “My first caramel batch was so hard I couldn’t break it with a hammer.”
She tweaked the recipe until she was satisfied. Then, the big apple decision. Not a fan of Granny Smiths, she bought every other variety she could find. Family and friends became taste testers. The Pink Lady won.
She made caramel apples for her daughter’s baby shower and her cousin’s retirement party. They were a hit—applesbyterri was born.
“I’ve spent countless hours perfecting my apple topping recipes and learning how to run a business. It’s been on-the-job training. There isn’t a caramel apple manual,” says Fong-Martinez, a former court reporter.
Husband Ron, recently retired from Bel Air in Natomas, helps prep, dip, top and package each apple. “My former co-workers became our unofficial focus group,” he says.
The product line includes almost 20 different toppings. Among them: caramel with s’mores, dark chocolate and sea salt, dark chocolate and peppermint, and toffee bits.
I’m impressed how these apples are made at home, not in a commercial kitchen. They need five refrigerators to store apples and completed batches.
The family discovered a different business niche for their caramel apples. Wineries request them for special events. It seems caramel apples are not only works of art, but pair well with wine.
On Saturdays, find applesbyterri at Rendezvous Winery in the Old Sugar Mill and the Natomas Farmers Market (May to September). They’re at the Elk Grove NeighborGood Market Thursday evenings (May to December).
Check the website at applesbyterri.com for custom apples and information.
Portuguese Hall hosts a Halloween Party for kids of all ages Saturday, Oct. 29, from 6:30–11:30 p.m. Family games, a costume contest and haunted house are featured. Admission is $15 for anyone over 13, $8 for kids 6 to 12, and free for kids 5 and younger. Food and drinks are available for purchase. Portuguese Hall is at 6676 Pocket Road. For information, contact Judy Dias Allen at (916) 947-6695.
Volunteers are needed to plant trees at Bill Conlin Sports Complex on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tools and snacks are provided.
In 2019, a “wall of trees” project was started to shield the youth sports fields from Interstate 5 noise. The final phase brings trees beyond the T-ball and soccer fields. For information, contact District 7 Parks Commissioner Devin Lavelle at email@example.com. Volunteers can RSVP at bit.ly/d7conlin22.
Kickstart your holiday shopping at the fall Arts & Crafts Festival at Elks Lodge No. 6. This popular event takes place Saturday, Oct. 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information, contact the lodge at (916) 422-6666.
Corky Mau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.