Gray Pearmain is a medium-to-medium-large apple, oblate with barely any ribbing. Its peel is a pale yellow with regions of pale yellow-green. The closest thing to a blush is a small rosy tinge.
My tasting samples bear many inconsequential marks of Nature's affection: russet, fly speck, sooty blotch, and other imperfections. The fruit feels firm with a faint promising fruity aroma.
The Gray Pearmain's flesh is crisp and firm, a coarse pale white. Its flavors are nicely balanced though on the sweet side of that range, something like a russet but without the lemony acidity. There are honey and pear, something like an Asian Pear, and a kiss of vanilla. These are subtle and mild.
This delicate, elegant apple is a pentimento of a gentler age that should appeal to many tastes both callow and sophisticated. Kudos to Hutchins Farm for growing it. I nibbled mine down to the seeds.
There is surprisingly little information about this apple on the web. It is mentioned in agricultural publications of the late 19th and early 20th century. The oldest of these seems to be of the Maine Pomological Society in 1885; others include West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The database of the National (UK) Fruit Collection holds no Gray (or, to be Anglo, Grey) Pearmain, so perhaps this is a purely American variety.
It is not, as a reader of this blog once asked, the Pomme Gris, a russet apple with origins in Quebec or perhaps France. I suspect it is not McAfee or Gray Pippin either. It is its own gray self, and you'd be a fool not try it if ever you can.