Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bearing fruit


The bough bows low earlier today at Nagog Hill Farm in Littleton, Massachusetts.

Monday, July 14, 2014

We can't help ourselves

Sometime in the next few weeks, a local grower will harvest the first apples of the season before they are ripe and bring them to farmers market.

These apples will be spongy and piney and sour. Because I have the self control of small kid in a big candy store, I will buy some anyway. I can't not.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Six months of apples

I ate 169 apples in the first half of 2014, according to the daily record that I began on New Years Day.

From my daily log of apple consumption. Hover over pie slices for details.
There were 29 varieties in that time, if you count "unknown" as only 1.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Drink your fruit: Fatty Bampkins Dry cider

The gang of hard-cider bloggers is having so much fun I had to write at least one cider review of my own.

Besides, I do get thirsty.

Bampkins pours pale straw from a 22-ounce bottle. In some light the cider in the glass has silvery green highlights. There are aromas of apples, cheese, and apple vinegar.

This cider is very dry and mildly astringent, fruity-sour with just a little funk. Carbonation adds punch, but the absence of sugar makes this a subtle drink.

These flavors are clear and refreshing, with a clean finish mixed with the tiniest bit of beer sour. We enjoyed ours with a chicken dinner.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Little darling

It seems like years since it's been here.
Apples growing in the sun yesterday at Hutchins Farm in Concord, Mass.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Smitten

This large and ribbed variety has deep red streaks inside a crimson blush that nearly covers a yellow base. In places the blush is spread thinly enough over the yellow that the result is more orange than red.

Tiny light lenticels are not very prominent but provide some contrast, and the calyx (which is closed) is rimmed with a base of 5 prominent "chins." Smitten is generally round, but most are a bit elongated. In some ways the shape suggests that of a hefty Red Delicious.

The fruit is firm in hand and smells sweetly and mildly of cider with a little spice.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lemonade (Honeymoon)

New Zealand is an apple-breeding powerhouse. When its harvest arrives here this time of year I have come to hope (but not expect) to find some apple that is wholly new to me.

Today I am pleased to taste Lemonade, the first of two new Kiwi apples that I found at a specialty market on my way to work Tuesday morning.

Lemonade is a strikingly elongated lemon yellow with green highlights.

It is large and without ribbing, though the base is crowned with a circle of bumps.

Some samples have a faint orange-pink blush over as much as a fifth or so of the peel. The shiny surface of this fruit is articulated into shallow bumps and ridges that further suggest the glossy rind of a lemon.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mini apple orchards grow in urban backyards

Fueled by dwarf rootstocks and a growing interest in apples, urban and suburban gardeners are increasingly planting apple trees in their backyards, according to a story published yesterday in the Boston Globe.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Stormy weather

Storm clouds gather behind nascent apples earlier today at Nagog Hill Farm in Littleton.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The problem of pesticides

In what has become a painful annual ritual, the Environmental Working Group last month again named apples as the produce most tainted with chemicals, the worst of of its "Dirty Dozen."

The group also made a splash this spring with a report that 80% of American apples are "coated" with a chemical banned in Europe, effectively shutting down the export market.

Farmers use pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers, and preservatives to deliver unblemished fresh-tasting apples to market.

Consumers for the most part demand the quality that these chemicals deliver.