Saturday, October 25, 2014

The hills of autumn

Autumn Hills barn
About an hour from Boston, not far south of the New Hampshire border, is a no-frills pick-your own apple orchard with hills, thrills, and hundreds of trees full of fruit. It's called Autumn Hills Orchard, in the town of Groton.

This is not a place for anything but fruit. You cannot, at least as of this writing, buy cider, donuts, kettle corn, or maple candy. There is no hay ride or corn maze. If the weather is bad, call first because they just might close up early.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mother (American Mother)

Courtesy of a generous apple enthusiast, I have 2 medium-sized irregularly shaped apples that sport a streaky red blush over greenish yellow.

That makes for a lot of orange where the yellow bleeds through the thinnest part of the blush. That spot is also where the brown lenticels are the most prominent.

Mother's peel sports more satin than shine.

It's hard to say what shape these would be if pristine, but there seems to be a small amount of ribbing. The apple in my photo is the more elongated of the two.

Besides the odd bumps and indentations, and a few hard little scabby lumps, these apples show some signs of bugs. Have no fear, gentle reader: no extra protein in this review.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fresh Empire

I treasure Empire in the spring, when it is a reliable echo of Fall's vinous apples.

But I rarely eat it during that harvest.

With a decidedly streaky blush, a bit of a smokey bloom, and a shape less conical than I have come to expect, these large apples look different enough from the supermarket version that I did not immediately recognize them hanging on the tree.

So I picked one and brought it home.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Now bare, they barely bore

Yesterday at Hutchins Farm. The trees were unproductive this year.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Niagara (Niagara Mac)

Of all the "new" apples I got on a recent trip to New York City, Niagara may be the only one I haven't had before.

It's medium-sized, but there were larger ones available. I just didn't want to carry more than I had to.

For the most part Niagara resembles an oblate, ribbed McIntosh, with a streaky red blush over yellow green.

Light lenticels are quite large on parts of the apple, probably where growth has especially stretched the peel. That peel has a satin-gloss finish.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Welcome to autumn!

It's apple season, welcome to Adam's Apples! If you are curious about this fruit you have come to the right place.

Here you can find more than 200 different varieties described in my opinionated catalog. If that's more than you can chew, you might visit my seasonal guide or my Michelin-style rating system for apples.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

2014 harvest going, going....

Russell Powell of the New England Apple Association reports,

The 2014 New England apple crop is decidedly uneven. Some orchards have plenty of fruit, some just miles away have been forced to close early after running out of fresh apples.

Update: Business Columnist Shirley Leung has the story in the October 8 Boston Globe. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Apples in disguise

I'm always hoping to find apples that are new to me, to taste and describe here.

Domino mask
This year I've walked many through the ritual of photographing and tasting, only to find that they are not new at all. Instead these apples were just sold under unfamiliar names.

A recent visit to the Big Apple included a pilgrimage to several farmers markets. New York City draws fruit from some fine orchards upstate and in New Jersey.

I returned with 4 varieties I hoped to add to my opinionated catalog. All but one, however, were retreads in disguise.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Friday, October 3, 2014

Heritage applesauces

How could I not share this great photo from Toronto apple aficionado and tweeter extraordinaire Suzanne Long?