Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vista Bella *

The first local apple of the year is a surprise and a revelation.

By July I am eating apples from Chile and New Zealand, and even they are out of season. Early apples are not usually very good--you wouldn't chose one like them in peak season--but they are unmistakably New England. The first bite promises delights to come.

Today's fruit, a Vista Bella, was the first and only only apple at Farmers Market. There are many types of summer apples, each of which have a short season. I won't be surprised if these are gone next week.

Vista Bella is pretty: brilliant green, like a Granny Smith or Pippin, with a deep red blush. The fruit is slightly ribbed, which adds to its overall attractiveness.

Bite it for a tart, crisp, and surprisingly firm mouthful of honest-to-gosh grown-here apple.

The flesh is snowy white shot with green highlights, and satisfyingly dense. For an early fruit these really are good.

Tartness aside, the flavor is mild and fruity, with hints of berries.*

Early apples don't keep long, even in the fridge, so I only got a few.

More about the Vista Bella here.

*Update: Further tasting yields a little more of VB's flavor.


  1. Like your Blog Adam!
    Picked my first VB this evening .. very nice even though a little unripe. Will be doing a blog about my orchard soon. I collect heritage apples and other fruit in Australia Victoria.

  2. Peter, I'm chewing though the last of my winter apples, and there is something almost comic about the thought of Vista Bellas this time of year.

    Please let us know when your blog is up and running, and very best wishes for the harvest season!

  3. Is not your Vista Bella too green? I think it must be much more red... (close to Red Delicious in colour)
    with respect Ivann

  4. @Ivann: I have never seen Vista Bella with the saturated dark red blush of a Red Delicious, and my apple was as you see in the photo above.

    However, this this was an early sample, also the apple may color differently in other climates. It does well for instance in the highlands of Guatemala, from whence its name.

  5. We've got a bumper crop of vista bella this year at our orchard in Maine and I'm going to experiment with making carbonated fresh cider from them before they all go bad. I'll let you know how they taste as a cider! I may mix them with Paula Red.

  6. I can tell that the harvest is coming soon when people start reading my early-apple posts.

    So, you're going to press the cider and add fizz? Will you filter it?

    Sounds good! and Vista Bella has some interesting flavors when ripe. Let us know how it turns out.


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