Tuesday, September 3, 2013
My samples are all small, though that may be more a characteristic of this harvest than of the breed in general. They are classically shaped with a slight conical taper and almost no ribbing at all.
The blush is crimson with dark purple streaks, made even darker on some samples by a smokey blue bloom like the one that gives a name to the Blue Pearmain. The effect is striking.
Light lenticels range from tiny to quite large, sometimes on opposite sides of the same fruit. I imagine this reflecting stretching of the peel and its pores as the apple grows.
The underlying peel is a green-tinted yellow. The stem wells are shallow, the stems short, and the calyxes partly closed.
There is a bit of orange-brown russet in the stem well of my photographed sample; strangely, the flyspeck is much more conspicuous in the photo than the reality. A faint aroma of yeast and cut grass testifies to this example's organic-farm origins.
The first bite is cracklingly crisp, medium-grained juicy flesh that is white with green highlights. Generic vinous flavors present initially as sweet but some tart acidity ultimately prevails. The peal lends a grassy quality to the finish.
Another sample is a bit better balanced, with hints of berries, a whiff of spice, and more-sustained sweetness. It's still no Honeycrisp, but for those longing for the tart crisp flavors of fall calving off the apple in great chunks, Early Macoun is a welcome refreshment. A tingling freshness persists long after eating.
Hutchins has raised the bar too high, however, by inviting comparisons with Macoun. NY 75414-1 may be that great apple's cousin (it is a Liberty x Macspur cross, Macspur a sport of McIntosh) bearing many of the family characteristics, but it's not the real Macoun by a long shot.
The greenish tint of the flesh suggests these might be a bit better, with more distinct flavors, if allowed to remain on the tree a little longer, but I am not seeing anything like the promise of structure and intensity made by early-picked Macs or Macouns.
Some other orchards seem to have taken this new variety up. If you'd like to try them, now is the time. You'll need to hunt for NY 75414-1, though, as the nickname is purely local.
Update: This Pennsylvania orchard calls this variety "Stars."