Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Starkey *

Today's Starkeys (I have 2) are medium-sized and slightly ribbed. One has a streaky red blush, the other a mostly solid one, each covering a bit more than half of the lively spring-green peel.

The blush is enlivened by large lenticels sparsely distributed

Starkey has a thick short stem and a closed calyx. It is quite firm in hand.

This is a celebrated old variety and the question as alway is, How does it eat?

Inside fine-grained white flesh is firm and reasonably crisp but tender. Starkey is mild with a lovely sweet-tart balance bearing delicate hints of citrus and lychee.

This apple has a nice chew and a slightly astringent finish. I wish I had more of these.

Starkey is enjoying a new popularity thanks to the work of John Bunker, who tracked this variety down about 25 years ago. It originated on the farm of Moses Starkey in Vasselboro, Maine, in the early 19th century.

Various sources describe Starkey as a Ribston Pippin x Black Oxford cross. Maybe.

According to Bunker, Starkey, though a fine snack fresh off the tree, reaches its true eating peak around Christmas. Alas, I ate both of mine in September.


  1. Hi there -- can you please tell me where I can buy some of these unusual varieties in the greater Boston area?

    1. @Anon, that is always the million-dollar question! I have had good luck at farmers markets.

      For instance, I found Starkey for sale right in my home town of Arlington.

      Right in Boston, the Copley Square market is top notch.

      In previous years Formaggio's Kitchen in Cambridge has carried heritage apples from Scott Farm in Vermont.

      Farm stands just outside the city are often good sources as well.

      This is the time of year for apples, so go for it!


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