Saturday, December 15, 2012

Apples on the web: The Fruit Gardener

What could be better than an opinionated catalog of apple reviews, sometimes blunt, sometimes wrong, never boring?

Why, two such collections, each with a different take.

At The Fruit Gardener a blogger named Eric is busy cataloging and rating apples of all kinds. Eric lives a northwest of Albany, New York, and has access to some great varieties.

The Fruit Gardener, true to his name, grows things. His blog describes what he's using for compost (Maine lobster shells), news of his trees, and gardening insights.

I especially enjoyed this post summarizing the favorite apples of four experts. He tastes more than just the 3 apple varieties in his garden.

Critics of anything must navigate between two extremes: a mask of objectivity, or  disclosure of personal bias.

Especially in matters of taste, where there are no "correct" answers, I look for (and practice) the second approach.

I feel honesty is more respectful of readers, and more useful too. If you know what I like in an apple (a bit of tartness, and a lot of complexity) you can use my suggestions as a starting point even if your tastes are different.

I think Eric would agree, and as a bonus his tastes depart from mine (See, for instance, how he pans Macoun—one of my favorites.) Use our disagreements to triangulate.

Controversial Macoun
Eric's reviews rate apples on a scale of 1 to 10 (with half-point increments) separately on both eating and cooking qualities.

He includes original photos, and his breezy comments include growing notes.

A few things do not seem to work as well as they might. A video promising an easy Tarte Tatin is restricted. The rating system feels a little arbitrary. Is a score of 5 good or bad? Obviously a 9 is "better" than an 8.5, but how and on what basis?

(Update: Eric explains things here.)

One curious feature: The Fruit Gardener tastes many apples that have been off the tree for a month or longer.

These write-ups shed light onto how varieties improve with age (or fail to), but give less information about what the fruits are like in season.

Eric joins the micro community of apple bloggers. Welcome to the feast!


  1. An apple is an apple none the less... I wouldn't worry about score, I would just want it to be nice and juicy!!

    -Samudaworth Tree Service

    1. Fair enough, Samudaworth!

      But if a man is making apples-to-apples comparisons, I like to know on what basis.

      Do many apple trees grow in Brooklyn?


Join the conversation! We'd love to know what you think.