Sunday, April 13, 2014

April Trees

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour

Apple trees perced to the roote yesterday at Hutchins Farm.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fear of Frankenfruit

The largest apple trade group in America is bracing for problems related to genetically modified fruit.

Writing in opposition to the application of Okanagan Specialty Fruits to sell GM apples, the US Apple Association said:

The genetically modified apples in the petition offer questionable commercial benefit yet raise serious marketing questions for virtually all segments of our industry.

...we believe that granting the request for deregulation could lead to significant and unnecessary costs to the industry in the form of labeling and marketing efforts that would be required to differentiate conventional apples from the GE apples.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Apples on the Web: Cider party on Twitter

Cider is a profoundly social drink that has made a home on the lightest of the social media, Twitter.

You don't need a Twitter account to check out the party.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Buds of spring

As a particularly leonine March prepares to make its traditionally agnine exit, the apple trees are laying their plans to blossom and fruit.

Before there are apples, there are buds.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Apples on the web: a flight of hard cider

Craft apple cider—hard, with a kick—is experience a renaissance in North America. Modern sensibilities and techniques have engendered what may just be American cider's golden age, its biggest comeback since Prohibition.

This explosion of drinkable fruit has engendered a growing cohort of cider blogs. Indeed there are more blogs about cider than apples. Most are less than two years old.

These bloggers join cider aficionados from Britain and beyond who’ve put a few more pints under their belts.

Join me for a taste of web-based cider news and reviews.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The solar orchard

Some orchards grow more than apples.

In the past few years I've noticed banks of high-tech photovoltaic arrays at many orchards in Massachusetts. This technology converts sunlight to electricity.

Solar barn at Red Apple Farm in Massachusetts
Apple farms are turning to the sun to power their chilling and other operations, selling any excess to the power grid.

But when I travel to the orchards of New Hampshire, there is not a solar cell to be seen.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Spring is in the trees

It is winter in Massachusetts, where I live.

Since the start of the year only one day in five has cracked the freezing point of water. We've got snow in the forecast, and the snow will fall on the snows of older storms.

Before there are apples, there are buds.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Winter-market Mutsu (Crispin)

Temporarily between snow storms, I couldn't place these large blocky apples in a bin at Somerville's winter market today. Some of them were huge.

Their cheerful sunshine yellow and small rosy orange blush (but not the shape) suggested Blushing Golden, which would have been a find indeed in February.

When I learned they were Mutsu I had to see how they had fared in storage for 4 months.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Stars of 2013

Battered but good: Rubinette
Between last fall's bumper crop here in the Northeast and a bit of apple tourism on the West Coast, I got to try an astonishing 30 varieties of apples for the first time last year.

(That's not counting a few whose identities I am still trying to sort out.)

I also had help from some of you who sent me samples to try. Thank you very much. I hope my descriptions repay some measure of your generosity.

I like all of these apples. However, today is the day I rank them according to a rating system in which one star is very good, two stars are excellent, and three stars are extraordinary.

To my regular readers

If you follow this blog or subscribe to its feed in an online reader, email client, or via email, you'll sometimes get notifications about old posts as if they were new.

I'm sorry about that! It's an unavoidable effect, apparently, of revising those posts, which I need to do from time to time.

This is not an attempt to pass off old work as new or lure you back to read something you've already seen.

I fix errors when I find them and sometimes revise a post to refer to a later post about the same apple or topic.

This time of year I typically make many revisions to add apples to my one-to-three-star rating system.

Sorry! And thanks for following me anyway.