|Now at Farmers Market|
After 7 years of Adam’s Apples it’s rare to discover an untried variety at Farmers Market, yet the choices at those markets continue to evolve in promising ways (Hello, Wickson!).
Many of the new 2015 apples came from you, O generous readers, some from locales with climates different from that of my own New England. I’m naturally very grateful to you all.
A trip and a fortuitous unplanned encounter with the California Rare Fruit Growers provided still more “foreign” tastings. This year? We’ll see.
|Ruby Red, a California apple|
I spotted two welcome trends in 2015. The first is more heritage apples at farmers markets and orchards. I attribute that to a growth in demand fueled by public curiosity and enthusiasm for apples outside of the supermarket template.
I’d like to think I have contributed to the enthusiasm, which matches my own, but the truth is that I probably just happen to be marching near the front of the parade, not leading it.
The second is, dare I hope, the return of flavor as a consideration for the big breeding consortiums. I’m looking at the rise of taste—really interesting flavors—in such new varieties as SweeTango, Opal, and Rockit.
It’s possible that in 5 or 10 years not every apple in the Supermarket pantheon (save Granny Smith) will be nearly identical contestants for the title of “sweetest/hardest/prettiest/least offensive.” We’ll always have Honeycrisp, Braeburn, and Fuji, but let some healthy competition on flavor drive the choices going forward.
Time will tell if these are real trends or just wishful thinking. But just a few years ago the sophisticated Ashmead’s Kernel showed up at farmers market, like a Rembrandt at a yard sale.
The grower should be proud of those apples. This year those trees must have really come into their own: there was a bumper crop and you could buy the Kernel for an astonishing $2 per pound.
|A pride of Ashmead's|