Friday, September 30, 2011

Crimson Crisp *

True to its name, this medium-to-medium-large apple has a lovely pure red blush.

The color, a shade less orange than in my photo, can be deep and even dark on the sunward side but unlike some well-colored varieties is not purple.

Tan lenticels, though numerous, are so small as to be hard to see, making for a very red apple.

The fruit is classically shaped with some ribbing.

Also true to its name, this apple has wonderfully breaking crisp flesh, light yellow, which is firm and dense, even hard, and more fine-grained than coarse. It holds a lot of juice and has a very good sweet-tart balance.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So you like McIntosh

If you read this in September and are enjoying McIntosh, you are in good company. This quintessential New England apple, crisp, flavorful, and juicy with plenty of sugar and tart, is a classic.

But what do you eat in October or August? And what other apples might you like?

If you don't know, or would like to broaden your horizons, here are my suggestions.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

26 apple varieties in one day


Today I could have bought 26 different kinds of apples at 4 different farm stands. 28 if you count all 3 versions of Cortland as separate varieties.

I was not so extravagant as that, but the choices this time of year are great!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Autumn Crisp

In August there are many different apples sold as "Early Mac," none of them McIntosh. In the same spirit Hutchins Farm once called this September apple an "Early Jonagold" after the Jonathan–Golden Delicious cross, though its real name is Autumn Crisp.

So: not a Jonagold that was picked too soon, but a different variety altogether.

Mine is hefty with a streaky, even blotchy, red blush over yellow. This gives an orange tinge though perhaps a shade less so than my photo implies.

Autumn Crisp is decorated with many irregularly placed light lenticels. The surface is also slightly dimpled, like a Honeycrisp.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Elstar vs. Lucky Rose Golden smackdown

Two apples from the vast family tree of Golden Delicious, both ready about the same time in September, both medium-sized yellow with pretty blushes. Here's how they stack up.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Green Crisp *

"Green Crisp" is very apt. But the truth is that not even the grower knows the true name of this apple, or even if it has one.

Green Crisp is a lovely light spring green, conical and ribbed. It is a medium-to-medium-large apple with small dark lenticels that are not obvious, except where russetted. The fruit feels quite firm and smells faintly of moss

Inside is firm white flesh, crisp and pleasantly juicy, that is halfway between fine-grained and coarse.

Its balanced flavors are somewhat attenuated, after the style of a Gingergold or Mutsu, though more assertive. These tastes include a citric zing, with a little lime and a whiff of vanilla and wine in the background. Think Vino Verde, the simple light "green" (white) wine of Portugal.

Some of these flavors might be offensive were they stronger, but light Greencrisp strikes a refreshing balance, with a cool astringent finish. Have another!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

So you like Honeycrisp

Introduced in 1991, this sweet, crisp apple has taken the fruit world by storm.

If you read these words in September, now is your chance to enjoy Honeycrisp at peak.

But, may I interest you in some other crisp, sweet apples? Variety is the spice of life.

Besides, how do you know you like Honeycrisp best if you never try anything else?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why is an apple like an opera?

Greetings Adam,

I'm wondering if I might be able to use one of your photographs for an image for an opera production I'm doing (very soon) in NYC.

The above in my in-box last month, and of course I had to say yes.

But yes to what, exactly? What could one of my apples possibly have to do with a production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, to be staged in Bryant Park at 12:30 pm on September 19?

As it turns out, this will be a performance of the first two acts of the opera only.

But the question still remains: Why is half an apple like half an opera?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Summer Pippin (Greening Sour)

Locust Grove Farm in Milton New York grows this apple and calls it Summer Pippin. I have my doubts about the name, but a box of these big green beauties at the Union Square farmers' market (New York) commands attention.

This large apple is a saturated bright spring green, reminiscent of Granny Smith's unglazed hue. It's ribbed and lumpy, with a little russet radiating from the stem well and dotted with white lenticels. The firm fruit has a faint sweet smell.

The flesh is a dense white tinged with light green, a little yielding to the teeth. The taste is predominantly tart with some sweet, not as complex as a Granny Smith but reminiscent. There is some bracing acidity and a hint of unripe grapes.

Finally, there is a faint sweet citrusy aftertaste. Whatever you call it, this apple is both unusual and refreshing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

McIntosh vs. Novamac Smackdown


McIntosh (left, above) is the New England fall classic, more than a century old, that ripens in September. Novamac (right), half Mac itself, is the upstart from Nova Scotia that shows its face 1 or 2 weeks earlier.

Spoiler: Nobody touches the Mac (except maybe Macoun, and that is debatable). But the point is not to replace McIntosh but to see how well Novamac lives up to the second half of its name.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Novamac vs. Paula Red smackdown


From the start of the apple season in July to the debut of McIntosh in September, many varieties vie for the title of "early Mac." Most of these are unsuccessful, but there are two that I like: Paula Red and Novamac.

This year Paula has had an unusually long season and overlaps with Nova. So, which is most Mac-like? And which is best?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

After the storm

The first sight that greeted my eyes at Hutchins Farm (in Concord, Mass.) two days after Tropical Storm Irene were trees full of apples clustered like grapes.

I'd worried about the trees, and the apples, in the blow that we got.

Mac's Apples, in southern New Hampshire, had reported that "well-pruned trees heavy with fruit were very stable," but it was reassuring to see for myself.

To underscore the good news, a chalkboard at Hutchins made this cheerful report:

Made it through Irene with only minimal damage--hope everyone fared as well!