Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Not Roxbury

The scene of today's professed oddity is Pease Orchard in Templeton, Massachusetts (map). There I was solemnly told that this apple was a Roxbury Russet—only without the russet!

Note that the skin of this small apple is smooth and shiny, not rough like the peel that can been seen peeking though the russet jacket of a normal Roxbury.

There's even a faint streaky blush. Unheard of.

Pease Orchard in Templeton, Massachusetts
Pease operates out of a single-family home that would not be out of place in a suburban subdivision. The house, however, is in rural Templeton and surrounded by meadows and apple trees.

Pease grows many fine varieties including two that were new to me (reviews forthcoming). They also had boxes of these so-called russets, tiny apples lacking any trace of the rough coppery stuff.

I am a sucker for whatever farmers tells me, and have faithfully (though unwittingly) passed along misinformation before.

However after a history of growers being confused about this variety it is no longer quite so easy to baffle my otherwise still-trusting self.

I bought one of these anyway to share with you, gentle reader, and to see what there was to see.

There is nothing Roxbury-like about this apple. The crisp interior is too juicy to be Roxbury, a light yellow green. It is not as dense or fine-grained as Roxbury by a long shot.

Its flavors do not suggest a russet variety at all: no citrus or pear or vanilla. Instead this is generically vinous with berries, a bit watery, with some bitter notes.

This apple, the not-Roxbury, does Pease no credit, but I will return to sample this orchard's great selection of other apples.

Apple lovers not from New England may appreciate Pease's offer to ship boxes of fruit.


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