Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Williams (William's Favorite) *

Williams is too understated to thrive in today's sugar-crunch market, but it was prized in the first half of the 19th Century.

One might also say that Williams (not to be confused with Williams' Pride) delivers some of the qualities promised, but rarely fulfilled, by Red Delicious, which it in some ways resembles.

My sample is on the small end of large with pronounced ribbing. The cheerful red blush over green is not so much streaky as spotted, like ripples spreading on a pond. In this background the small light lenticels are not obvious.

The fruit is tapered, conical, and attractive.

Williams's off-white flesh is crisp and a little giving, more fine than coarse. This sample is a week or so early, which may account for the modest acidity in each bite, but the flavors are delicate. There's some cane sugar and floral notes and a whiff of grapes.

The peel provides a little vegetable-grain hint towards the end of the chew. Overall very pleasant.

With such mild flavors it is not surprising to learn that Williams dates from the early 19th century, when such apples were prized. The apple is quite recognizable in the 1905 edition of Apples of New York.

Actually, as the author of that book tells us, the apple originated in Roxbury, Massachusetts, in the mid 18th century, but won renown and the attention of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1830.

It's not clear if this is the same apple as William's Favorite, which Century Farm Orchard tells us ripens in July in the South. The Favorite has a similar look and origin story.

I say not clear, but I think it is the same apple. Big Horse Creek Farm corroborates some other points, and Apples of New York includes "Williams Favorite" as one of this variety's many names.


  1. I'm excited to find your blog! I have an apple orchard in Wisconsin and I am always looking for more fun things to share with my customers! I do a 'saucesational analysis' on my blog to analyze how the apples sauce up ... let me know if you're interested in a link to that :) Thans for sharing your finds!

    1. @Persimon: You mean like this one?

      By all means, give us more! It's an unusual lens through which to view the apple, and not one that is part of my tool kit either.

  2. I love these apples! They look so good I just want to take a big bite out of them all! Rene Belllis from http://www/

  3. I grow these apples in my orchard in Maine they are everything you say they are and more

    1. A quality apple like this is very welcome in August, too.


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