Saturday, August 29, 2015

A study in scarlet


Red-tinged leaves of the Almata apple tree
The Almata apple, as we have seen, is a red paint ball, dripping with color.

it is intensely carmine from blush to core.

But the crimson tide does not stop there. It saturates the entire tree.

It colors the branches. It peeps at us from within each leaf. In the spring, the blossoms of the Almata are a dark pink.

The tree is entirely healthy—and brimming with red.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Almata apple

Saturated with color, Almata is a novelty.


It's interesting, it's unusual, and it's edible. But Almata is not a compelling pick eating out of hand.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Williams (William's Favorite)

Williams is too understated to thrive in today's sugar-crunch market, but it was prized in the first half of the 19th Century.

One might also say that Williams (not to be confused with Williams' Pride) delivers some of the qualities promised, but rarely fulfilled, by Red Delicious, which it in some ways resembles.

My sample is on the small end of large with pronounced ribbing. The cheerful red blush over green is not so much streaky as spotted, like ripples spreading on a pond. In this background the small light lenticels are not obvious.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Red Astrakhan


Tart and crisp, Red Astrakhan might give Paula Red a run for best early-season Mac-type apple.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Savage apples

A reader writes,

Last winter, my husband and I bought a house on 15 acres of land in the mountains of western Maine.

It had a little orchard, but since the previous tenants had fed the deer apples right in the middle of the orchard, our trees were eaten to nubs.

Nonetheless, we found about a dozen wild apple trees that had been planted by the deer maybe 30 years ago and had survived the browsing, the -20° winters, and the aggressive blocking of light by the neighboring pines.

When we asked ourselves what does our land want to grow, the wild trees told us on no uncertain terms: apples.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fresh Pristine apples

I was very pleased to get these excellent apples at farmers market today, since I'd never found Pristine in New England before.

This tasting does not replace my initial review of the Pristines I got in New York in early September of 2008.

They were good then, but I wondered how much better they might be fresh off the tree.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reflections on 7 years of apple writing

Adam's Apples' first apple harvest began 7 Julys ago.

It was easy. I could count on finding a "new" variety to review every week, usually several.

The reviews are still the heart of this blog, though new varieties are harder to come by.

Now, on the cusp of my eighth apple crop, I have no big changes in the works, nothing really new up my sleeve for this blog.

But I do have some second thoughts about the way I wrote those reviews. And I am planning to make some changes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

White apple pips

White pips are a sign that the apple is not yet ripe.

White pips from an unripe apple

The apple, an early Lodi, was super tart and obviously picked too soon.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Comment of the day

and rejoinder videos.

Steven Edholm, the polymathic paeleolith from Turkeysong ("a homestead in the beautiful coastal mountains of Northern California" as well as a blog) took the time to respond to yesterday's video about apple breeding from one of the big commercial breeders in New Zealand.

I've edited his remarks lightly, emphasis is added.

I noticed a while back how much breeding is the beginning of a line of thinking toward more and more sophisticated marketing. It seems like the trend is a little more skewed toward consumer satisfaction now.

I'm not convinced that they always know what consumers will want, given a broad choice [ya think?—Adam.], but apple quality in stores has certainly improved tremendously since I was a kid.

As many apples as it seems like they are releasing the entire industrial apple system will never be about diversity, or about really serving human needs or culture in a broader sense. It is, as the man said, a business.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A breeder's eye view of the orchard

Apple breeders consider consumer and production "fruit-quality traits" and even global economic strategy.