Saturday, August 23, 2014
It's oblate and really with no ribbing save around the base, which has the usual bumps.
The glossy blush runs from streaky to a deep cherry red over a green-tinted yellow.
The tiny lenticels are almost invisible. Meanwhile the apple is firm in hand and has only a faint sweet aroma.
Crisp white flesh with green highlights is juicy despite being fine-grained. Flavors are well-balanced and simple, and also on the weak side, with cane sugar, sweet cider, berries, and even a hint of spice.
Red Free is awfully easy to eat.
I last had Red Free in September of 2009, with similar result (though those samples were not so highly colored). Since it is an early apple, I thought I'd try it again a bit closer to harvest.
Bolton Orchards reports that Red Free is their earliest apple, though by August 20, when bought these, there were also some Empresses about.
Red Free is not a compelling choice in September, when you can eat some truly complex varieties. In August it is not bad.
This apple's name marks it as one of the "freedom" varieties. That's not an ideological statement but an economic pitch, as a hardy low-maintenance apple that frees the farmer for toil and chemicals.
I always learn something when I revisit an apple, and I do write about some varieties multiple times. However, only one blog post is tagged as the "official" review. (That's why you won't find this report in my opinionated catalog.)
Here's my earlier take, which includes some more information about how this apple was bred.