The summer harvest parade is well under way by mid August, with quality local varieties such as Williams Pride, Gingergold, and Gravenstein available fresh at farmers market.
So there was some irony in finding Diva in supermarkets last week, off the boat (and out of storage) from the spring harvest in New Zealand.
Medium sized and slightly squat, Diva has ribbing that is noticeable but not extreme. These have a red blush that is streaky rather than saturated, with all of the blush generally attenuated to hint at the yellow-green beneath.
This unblushed color teeters between yellow and green: a pastel yellow for the most part, but a little greener and more saturated in the stem well. It sits firm in my hand.
Since this is a modern apple, crisp and sweet almost go without saying. But is Diva also part of the cutting-edge trend towards flavor?
The fruit is pleasantly crisp and juicy, with medium-coarse-grained light yellow flesh. It is pleasant and sweet, though not cloying, with some vanilla and a hint of table grapes along with the cane sugar. A a measure of astringency adds to its charm.
These flavors, like the colors on the peel, are a little washed out. The overall effect is crisp and delicate, but not terribly memorable.
It turns out that Diva originated in Quebec and is half McIntosh. It's a northern scab-resistant variety created "for cider and ice cider production," though it is quite edible.
Diva is not without interest, and may make superlative ciders, but especially this time of year there is nothing to recommend it over the local fruit.