Thursday, January 31, 2013

The new apples

Just a few years ago you knew what to expect in the fruit section in winter and spring. There would be Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and (incongruously) Granny Smith. In the Northeast and maybe elsewhere there would be McIntosh and his kin Empire and Cortland.

"Newer" stalwarts might include non-native Gala, Fuji, and Braeburn. In the Northeast you'd also get, fleetingly, the end of the Macouns, if you were lucky. It was the same every year.

Things have changed. The stalwarts are still there, but this week the shelves at my local supermarket were dominated by the likes of Jazz, Pinata, and Cripps Pink. Honeycrisp, like McIntosh, has established itself nearly year round, though like the Mac its best qualities thin over time.
Pacific Rose, Pinata, and Sweetango

Monday, January 28, 2013

Opal *

Large Opal's lively lemon yellow is dialed back just a notch by a drop of orange. Conical and ribbed, she is sparsely decorated with large brown lenticels and a brown crown of russet. One sports a small spotty patch of pink blush.

Unbroken, Opal has a strong aroma of cider and honey and a whiff of spice. Her calyx is only half closed.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Belated good wishes for the new year

Happy new year and thanks to my readers for 2013!

King David here came courtesy of a reader.
Last year was another dicey apple harvest, with crop damage falling unevenly across and within North America's major apple-growing regions.

I continue to be rewarded by the human harvest of personal contact with apple farmers and fanatics of all stripes.

A highlight of my year in apples was a walk in Tower Hill's heritage orchard with Richard Bourrie of the inestimable Orange Pippin web site.

Your comments keep me focused and thinking and are often the source of story ideas.