Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fortune *

Today's pick is a pretty apple, medium-sized, lobed, and conical, with a blush that is deep red where saturated and studded with tiny light lenticels. It has no aroma that I can smell.

Fortune is part of the McIntosh family, and looks it, so I was surprised that its flesh is a light yellow, on the coarse side. (One sample's flesh had a green tint.) It is nicely crisp and juicy but with a little tenderness, and its peel is quite chewy: I imagine this variety travels well.

The apple's flavor is also a little unexpected. It is well balanced and generally rich, with a hint of melon and spice, but initially some tartness presents itself and overcomes everything else. Be patient, however--the fading aftertaste is sweeter and holds a little mango and tangerine. When even that has faded attend carefully and you will be rewarded with some distinct, if distant, cantaloupe.

I very much like Fortune's charming parade of flavor, but the initial tartness means that this variety will not please everyone. For my part I am glad I bought more than one, and certainly anyone who enjoys an apple as tart as, say, McIntosh or Macoun will appreciate this one too.

Fortune's breeder, Cornell's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, says this variety is the offspring of Schoharie Spy and Empire (itself a Cornell project). Schoharie is a sport of Northern Spy, and Cornell boasts that Fortune has "N. Spy quality for culinary uses."

If that's not mere hype, it is high praise indeed.

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