Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Unnatural selection

The apple thought of the day must surely be this one, about Hawkeye's slow evolution into Red Delicious:

More than 30 mutations later, we have an apple that’s gotten redder and redder, with lots of emphasis on an elongated conic nose.... The ones in a supermarket could be as much as a year old, and they’ve had quite a journey.... So when you bite into one, you’re often disappointed.

That's from Michael Phillips, north-country orchardist, author, and advocate of organic apple farming.

Quoted in today's Boston Globe, Phillips says Granny Smith has been similarly deformed by market forces. There's one local apple he'd like to bring back, though:

I’d love to see the Roxbury Russet make a comeback. It’s a classic cider apple with a tangy complexity for fresh eating as well.

Click here to read his remarks in context.

Phillips's farm, including Lost Nation Orchard, is in the North Country of new Hampshire, above the White Mountains.

He will be in Worcester, Massachusetts, on January 15 to deliver the keynote at the 24th Winter Conference of the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (Mass. chapter).

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