Thursday, October 20, 2011

Deacon Jones *

Tower Hill (which conserves this heirloom variety) describes Deacon Jones as medium-sized, but my sample is larger than that. It's elongated, even conical, and just a little ribbed.

The Deacon's green peel is half covered with a brick-red blush decorated with many tan lenticels that are all but invisible in the unblushed green.

The skin is matt rather than glossy and the fruit has a staid beauty, quite solid in hand, with a sweet aroma of cut grass.

The flesh of this fruit is dense and fine-grained, white, and crisp but a little yielding. The peel is chewy and dominates the end of each bite perhaps a bit too much. Deacon's flavors are mild and sweet and pleasant, with no acidity. There is a little melon and seedless grapes, and a third flavor that is something like this.

When I was a kid we'd chew on long pieces of grass, weeds I suppose, with seeds at the top like miniature green ears of wheat. They'd grow tall at the edge of someone's yard or the side of the road.

You could pull the stem easily from the plant, leaving most of it (root and all) behind, and chew on the soft end for a moment or two. The stalk would stick from your mouth at a jaunty angle. It was sweet.

That's what this third flavor was like. But mostly Deacon Jones was just a mild sweet apple. I enjoyed mine.

Apples of New York says the Deacon originated in Pennsylvania.

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