Monday, January 18, 2010

Pacific Rose (Sciros) **

The soft pink blush of this apple suggests that 1990s designer hue, "Dusty Rose."

The apple itself is generally a large medium, with ribbing that gives many a blocky, rectangular aspect.

That dusty-rose blush is variegated, and there are large tan lenticels and an open calyx under the base.

The unbroken fruit has a firm feel and a sweet aroma.

The fruit's flesh, a striking golden yellow, is crisp, coarse, and juicy. That juice is sweet with no balancing tartness, and the skin is a bit chewy in the finish. There are floral notes and also something generically tropical in the mix: my tasting brain keeps circling around banana, mango, tangerine, and coconut but can't quite latch on.

Now, maybe these tastes would be better differentiated in a sample that was fresher from the tree. Maybe I just need a better brain. (I did find some distinct, if brief, pineapple in a bite from the calyx end of my second sample.) In any case, these elusive flavors, and most of all P. Rose's wonderful crisp juicy texture, make this worth seeking out.

Pacific Rose is the trademark name for Sciros, much as Pink Lady is the trademark for Cripps Pink. The fruit, a Splendour - Gala cross, is patented for a fixed period but the trademark is registered potentially forever. Besides, would you rather eat a Pacific Rose or a Sciros? (I like the name "Cripps Pink," myself.)

This variety originated in New Zealand in 1990 but is new to markets in Eastern Massachusetts. As of this writing it is imported from the West Coast for sale over the winter. It is a welcome addition to the off-season repertoire, coarser and juicer than its parents. Fans of sweet should check this one out.

47 comments:

  1. I like the name Pacific Rose. It sounds so feminine, pretty and bucolic. I'll have to keep an eye out for these. So do you think they would make good baking apples?

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  2. Carolyn, it is a very pretty apple, worth seeking out. If we have them here in produce-supply-benighted Massachusetts they should be available where you live.

    I am not much of a baker but I'll guess that these are too coarse-grained to be very good for most cooking. Try one, though, and see what you think of the texture--maybe I'm wrong.

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  3. In all my years THIS is the best eating apple I have ever had! You can't beat the juciness and crispness of this apple. It makes a beautiful apple for baking, especially if you have a diabetic in the family because you don't have to use much sweetner, if any at all, as they are so naturally sweet & juicy. I am impressed with this Pacific Rose....and that's saying a lot because I was born and raised in the apple orchards of WA state.

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  4. A good apple is such a great thing. Sigh, it's a pity that here in NZ it seems so hard to find a decent apple. They've all been in cold storage for years, etc. I'd love a nice crisp Pacific Rose...if only I could find one like the good old days.

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  5. By my imperfect reckoning, it's apple harvest in New Zealand. Here in New England in the fall, farmers are happy to sell directly to the public at farm stands and markets, selling the remainder to large distributers who store them away for much less per pound.

    I'm surprised to learn from Kiwi-d that this is apparently not the case in New Zealand, home of so many popular varieties.

    It's hard to fathom the economic arrangement that thwarts this friendly commerce. I guess it is the dark side of modern pomoculture, but I hope it never arrives here.

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  6. On the (public service) radio a couple of months ago I listened to an interview with an apple orchardist. In his province, 10 years ago there were about 40 apple orchards, he is now the last one, and was sharpening his chainsaw.

    I live in the city so the supermarket is my source, but I will survey some rural relatives, etc.

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  7. Adam, I would like to formally thank you for re-vitalising my apple consumption. On a recent out of town visit to stay with relatives I took the opportunity to talk apple shopping with the ladies of the exteneded family. A few days ago I thus owned 6 beautiful fresh new season Pacific Rose...and now I am immensley satisfied to state I own none :-)

    It appears apples are best sourced from your owner operated fruit store. The supermarkets seem to prize continuity of supply, price, etc and thus cold-storage is their way.

    Braeburn, Gala and Pacific Rose are the common seasonal ones available now. Actually it appears Pacific Rose has been renamed down here, to New Zealand Rose or just plain old Rose.

    This is going back 20 years ago or so, but I am sure I recall much hoo-haa in the local media about this new-fangled concept of patenting of apples, etc. The protection offered by patent versus being obliged to sell seed/budwood to competitors. Several large orchards of "illegal" Pacific Rose were discovered in Chile, and put to the torch. Also, I'm sure Rose was the one involved in the 'underpants' saga. A visiting Chinese delegation were stopped at by customs as the airport as they left NZ. The ones without diplomatic protection were searched and quite literally had their undergarments stuffed with Pacific Rose budwood. Unfortunately the ones with diplomatic protection had equally bulging pants....

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    1. Pacific rose, New Zealand rose and rose are names based on whole is the marketing body. The variety was developed by HortResearch, now Plant and Food Research, hence the patent and limitation.

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  8. Illicit budwood in their DIPLOMATIC UNDERPANTS?

    I guess I have to believe this story since it is just too weird for anyone to make up.

    I'm glad you found some farm stands.

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  9. The pacific rose apple that i ate for the first time this year was by far the best apple i have ever eaten.

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  10. Where do I buy trees of this beautiful sweet apple so I can grow some in my home orchard .Please let me know soon.Thankyou.

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  11. @anonymous seeker: As you can see from the above comments, this variety, which is still under patent, is a hotbed of intrigue.

    At present you would have to pay a royalty fee for scion wood, and there may even be outright restrictions on who can grow Pacific Rose, to prevent competition.

    If you want to follow up, I suggest enquiring with the license holder.

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  12. I love this apple. I've seen Pacific Rose a few times but I'm a creature of habit. After reading about it here, I bought a couple.

    Wow. My first taste was like "what's that flower? I know that flower... it's..." and then I remember the name, "rose!"

    I've had a few more since then. To me, it tastes a bit like candy. I have a feeling that candy taste might get old after awhile. But, so far I'm liking it.

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  13. @anonymous, this is a new variety that is not consistently available here on the East Coast of North America. I missed them this year.

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  14. how can a person/farm have a patent on a tree and prevent others from growing one? how bizarre. what is keeping me from buying a delicious pacific rose apple and planting the seeds?

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  15. To anonymous, above:

    You may of course plant as many seeds as you please, and no one will stop you. But apples do not breed true, so you will not get a tree that bears Pacific Rose apples.

    That is why apple trees are propagated by grafting budwood onto rootstock.

    In that operation, the budwood is key, thus Kiwi-d's story of international intrigue and undergarments.

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  16. I believe this variety is being planted in Washington State to a very, very limited extent. It is a controlled variety. You have to pay several thousands of dollars per acre just for the license to grow and sell it. This is the new thing to do with these new varieties. It will limit the amount on the market so the price can remain relatively high.

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  17. Anonymous no. 6: Yes, as you note this variety is grown and marketed under a license that is pretty exclusive, possibly to only one grower or consortium in North America. Seems to be the way new varieties get sold nowadays.

    By the way if anyone feels like being slightly less anonymous you can select "Name/URL" from the "select profile" pull-down menu below. If you like.

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  18. hi hoping you can help me, i know nothing about apple trees, but a few years back we were given 3 pacific rose apple trees and every year we have been waitng for the tree to be covered in apples, but sadly we only get a few, I have been told the reason for this is that I need a pollinator, how and what do I do to get this


    Lynne New Zealand

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  19. Lynne, how disappointing! This is such a great apple.

    I do not grow apples myself, but here is my understanding.

    Although a few apples are self-fertile, most must be cross pollinated with a different variety.

    To pollinate, the two varieties must blossom at the same time and must not be mutually infertile. The correct choice of pollinator thus depends on the variety to be pollinated.

    I do not know what that might be for Pacific Rose, which is only grown here under license (and a pretty exclusive one).

    Here in the States we have agricultural extension services to advise farmers and gardeners great and small about these kinds of questions. There are generally associated with the different land-grant colleges and universities. Is there any equivalent agency in New Zealand?

    If not, I would seek out an apple farmer, or nursery owner, and ask him or her.

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  20. The Pacific Rose apple is far the best apple I have ever eaten. I usually have to peel apples or I tend to choke on the skin, but the Pacific Rose has such a tender skin, I don't have to peel them and the taste is wonderful. In fact, I ate more apples in the last year then I have in the last 10 years, at least one a day sometimes two. I have started checking the apple isle in the grocery store every time I go in just to see if they are in season yet.

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  21. Sue, this a great apple and very popular.

    Unfortunately in my part of the world we do not see it until midwinter, if at all.

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  22. I must say that I never liked apples that much until I discovered the Pacific Rose while living in New Zealand, that made me realized why is so important in life, in the Bible with Adam and Eve, for Newton, ...etc ,....even the logo of the Beatles, of Computers, when you taste something like this you may think this is the king/ queen of the fruits.....this apple is yummy, crispy, juicy, fresh,sweet....I still have not found it in Spain, but I found the Fuji apple grown in the high mountains of Rioja www.fincasenorioderioja.com and since then I do not miss the Pacific Rose. However as soon as I get to NZ I will buy some.

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  23. I'm eating one right now and its delicious. I told my friend "it actually tastes like apple juice". Sweet and fresh... maybe my new fave!

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  24. Hi Adam,

    I picked up one of these today at the market here in Southern Wisconsin. The apple smelled pleasently of roses and violet. The flesh was crisp and average juiciness. The flavor was very mild, pleaset but not much going on in the way of flavor other than a very light flowery/tropical taste. I would certainly tell anyone to pick one of these up over a Red Delish. I liked the Sonya apple better for a sweet apple with little to no acidity.

    I also picked up a few Opal apples today - first time I have seen them here in the area. Looking forward to trying those!

    Back to the Pacific Rose. I really think this would be a great apple from a local orchard. I was surpised how strong the smell of flowers was in this grocery store example. They must be incredibly fragrant fresh from the tree!

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  25. I tried the first of my Opal apples today. These look like a golden Delish with some russet streaks around the top of the apple. The apple is very crunchy with good juice. It has an excellent tropical flavor of bananas and coconut. They really taste to me like a good Pinova(Pinata) without all the acidity that apple brings from it's parentage. If you like sweet apples and enjoy a nice aromatic tropical flavor in your apple - look no further!

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    1. Matt, that sounds like an interesting apple.

      We are slow to get the new varieties out here, but winter is becoming a time when apple cartels strut their latest stuff. I'm hoping to find something new this season.

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  26. I love good apples and do my best to eat at least one a day. Pacific Rose is, hands down, the best eating apple on the market. And the market is the problem. I've been waiting months for them to arrive in the stores again, to no avail.

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    1. Jim, I hope you find some this year.

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  27. I have been waiting for the Pacific Rose to be in our stores, but for some reason there are absoulty none. They are hands down the best eating apple there is!!!!

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  28. Found this apple in Bay Area, Ca. After eating first apple, I was struck by very strong lingering aftertaste... not an apple flavor, but maybe something tropical. The taste lasts unnaturally long... same effect with second apple eaten 20 minutes ago! Anyone else notice this??

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  29. I came across your blog today after eating a Pacific Rose apple for the first time. My husband picked some up this week here in Maryland and he insisted I try one because they're just so good! Anyway, after eating that delicious apple, I had to know more about them, and your blog popped up. Very interesting!

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  30. @Lori, I am now jealous because I have not been able to find any of these for the second year in a row!

    But if you are finding these in mid-march maybe there is still hope for this year.

    Somebody really needs to write a blog about the mysterious vagaries of our food-distribution system. It's quite beyond me!

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  31. True it has no tart to balance the sweet. But that's OK. The lack of tart allows one to enjoy the delicate floral flavors of this apple.

    Of the sweet apples, this one is my all time favorite.

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  32. I wish I could find where they may be selling the PR apple in SoCal...I haven't found them for a couple of years now. My second fav is the Honeycrisp...but the crop this year is lackluster and watered down tasting.

    Anyone finds them in the OC or the IE then let me know (leigh.shanks@christiedigital.com)...

    Thanks :)

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  33. i thought honeycrisp was fancy stuff until i looked at your blog index. wow. it inspired me to go out and hunt down some more apples but i've yet to come across any sweetango or williams pride.

    nevertheless, i stopped by the supermarket yesterday to pick up some apples. they usually have a good variety, which changes often. of the ones they had, braeburns looked the freshest so i reached for one, turned it over and it was a pacific rose. it wasn't even in the system and the clerk had to ring it up as another apple. looking forward to trying it but eating other ones first. braeburn was nice and tart. ambrosia... didn't seem quite ripe, which was too bad. sitting on the pacific rose and a jonagold, which i've had good luck with in the past.

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    1. I've never had an Ambrosia right off the tree. They may require some time in storage to really mature.

      I'm glad that your apple curiosity has been aroused. Happy hunting!

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    2. so i finally had the pac rose... maybe it was the anticipation but i didnt get the interesting tropical notes maybe something slightly floral. agree on the total lack of tartness. a solid apple but not yet ready to declare it one of my faves. will have to give it another go.

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    3. I've never had this before January.

      It's possible that P Rose needs a month or two to convert starches to sugar and reach peak flavor--similar to Ambrosia.

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  34. I just found them today at a supermarket here in Southern California (Pavilions, but Vons/Safeway also carries them since they're the same company). Last year, they barely showed up at all, and the ones that were for sale were already wizened (!) but these seem to be fine.

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    1. I guess the PR season has begun! Thanks for checking in.

      I hope I see some out east this year.

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  35. My husband and I just discovered these in our local Market Basket in New Hampshire and this has to be the best Apple I've ever had.. After reading all the notes above I'm going back to get as many as I can before they disappear until next year. I'm also going to try a pie!

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    1. This is the first sighting of these apples that I have heard of in New England for two years. I am going to keep my eye peeled for these, thanks for the report!

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    2. Aaaaand—I found some! Thanks for the tip!

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  36. Well, first the good news, and then the bad....

    The good news is that your blog has been a great reference for me in investigating the sorts of apples that don't make it to the major supermarkets. I recently planted 7 untried varieties and am now second-guessing my rather impulsive choices, reading everything I can about Belle de Boskoop (which I planted) and Hudson's Golden Gem (which I did not plant), just to give two examples.

    Now that bad news...your recommendation (too hastily read, I now realize) encouraged me to try Pacific Rose, which can be had at our local Sprout's Market. It's not bad, but it made me realize that I really do need a certain amount of tartness in my apples. It wouldn't be rated two stars in my own ratings, if I had them.

    Of course, this may be good news in disguise, as I am less anxious about my plantings not agreeing with your taste. So even though you didn't give Boskoop any stars...I may like it!

    Incidentally, the most likable thing about the Sciros was, in my opinion, the tropical notes--I would have to describe them as coconut without too much hesitation.

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    1. It's been 3 years, but I finally got more of these to eat, ponder, and appreciate.

      On reflection though these are sweet there must be a little tempering tartness in the mix someplace to bring out these flavors.

      Quality varies here at the end of the distribution chain, but the very best of these reminded me a little of Sweetango, with great crunch.

      I am delighted to know that my experience has played a small part in developing your own apple project and wish you very well with it.

      Boskoop is considered a prime cooking apple so I see no cause for regret on that score.

      Keep us posted if you like, I'd certainly love to know more.

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