Saturday, June 19, 2010

Municipal apple reviews

I had wondered if the red dots on the Seal of the Town of Hubbardston (Massachusetts) might, perhaps be apples.

They are.

A closer look shows not only the unmistakable profile of apples but also the words "Hubard·ston" and "None·such" arranged around the left and right fruits respectively in careful tiny lettering.

(The more-detailed, though uncolored, copy of the seal is from the cover of the Hubbardston Town Bylaws.)

Indeed, the town's 2005 Annual Report (page 4) identifies the fruit as the Hubbardston Nonesuch Apple, and goes on to say:

Hubbardston Nonesuch has a great deal of personality, as something both to look at and to eat. With its hammered, multicolored surface and russeting, it is a handsomely aging character actor among apples. There is a monumentality about the fruit.

The hard, crisp, fine-grained flesh is complex, sweet, and highly flavored just after the October harvest. The fruit is tamed a bit by a few weeks in cold storage. There is a lot of eating in each apple because its core is small. A considerable sugar content made Hubbardston Nonesuch a popular hard cider variety.

The description is uncredited, but a little sleuthing online finds that the words were penned not by the town's pomologist but by Roger Yepson, in his 1994 book Apples.

So, while local government plows the streets, runs the schools, puts out fires, and provides many other services, apparently town-researched apple reviews are not in the cards.

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