Two days after Irene, the trees at Hutchins Farm were, thankfully, still full of rippening fruit.
The farm's first apple of the season, Novamac, was ready to eat.
This Nova Scotia–bred variety is medium to small, though I did see one large one in the bin. The squat oblate shape seems characteristic.
Its blush, over a lively spring green, is a cheerful red, streaky at points but well-saturated on the sunward side. Small tan lenticels, widely-spaced, provide a visual accent; some in my photo are russeted.
Inside is crisp creamy-white flesh, more or less fine-grained. The balance is good: noticeable tartness is met by a good bit of sugar, though there is enough acidity to be bracing.
These qualities join with genuine vinous notes and a hint of berries to suggest a less-complex McIntosh. The finish is pleasingly dry and astringent.
Many varieties claim to be early Macs, but most of these fall short. Novamac, itself a McIntosh daughter, is one of the better of these, especially if chilled and not long off the tree.
However, Nova is destined to be swiftly upstaged by the real Mac, whose season begins only a week or two later. (I also like Paula Red, which matures earlier, as an I-can't-wait-for-McIntosh substitute).
These make a great snack, though given their size I'd want two.