How two Armenian immigrants made lokum an American hit: WQCS

How two Armenian immigrants made lokum an American hit: WQCS

PanARMENIAN.Net - Liberty Orchards in Cashmere, Washington, which was founded by two Armenian immigrants, still makes Aplets & Cotlets, a variation of Turkish delight, otherwise known as lokum, that includes apples, apricots and walnuts.

Armenian immigrants Mark Balaban and Armen Tertsagian launched two businesses that failed, but their Liberty Orchards venture — and its Aplets & Cotlets — remains prosperous, an article published by WQCS FM said.

In 1921, an ad in The Seattle Times touted a brand new candy called "Aplets," a new confection made "from the finest Washington apples and honey and walnuts." A few years later, Aplets were joined by "Cotlets," a similar candy made from an apricot base. In most of the world, "Aplets & Cotlets" were based on a treat called lokum, a word derived from Arabic, but the British and Americans know it as "Turkish delight."

Aplets thus came to America thanks to Tertsagian and Balaban who bought an orchard in Cashmere, and had to find something to do with their excess fruit. Greg Taylor, president of Liberty Orchards, is the grandson of both founders. (The unmarried sister of one of the men "got sent over to be the wife of my grandfather," he explains.)

"Their fruit business has carried on for almost 100 years — even though the orchards were sold long ago, when the owners realized that producing Aplets from farm-raised apples didn't offer the quality control needed to make a shelf-stable lokum," the article says.

"For now, Aplets & Cotlets remains a regional secret. Yet it exemplifies the very best of American food culture — immigrants who refashioned their childhood treats by using the foods of their new home."

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