Sunday, June 17, 2018

The stingiest month

April may be the cruelest month, but this particular June feels like the stingiest.

Of course there can be no fresh local fruit this month, but the southern hemisphere had a harvest not too long ago.

Where are those apples? Not in supermarkets.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Herefordshire Pomona

containing coloured figures and descriptions of the most esteemed kinds of apples and pears.

Color plate from the Herefordshire Pomona
Source: The Herefordshire Pomona, Volume II


The Biodiversity Library recently posted scans of the two-volume Herefordshire Pomona.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A fairy tale that's not even wrong

"Honeycrisp Saves the World"

magical apples floating in air bearing tiny houses

Recently National Public Radio's "Planet Money" decided to explain apples to us.

Because the true story of the apple and cider renaissance is so boring, the explanation came in the form of a fairy tale, once upon a time, in which nearly every story element is unfaithful to the truth.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

A dab of mustard

Pinata apple with jar of mustard

Imagine my surprise to find mustard in my apple last week.

Not the actual golden brown spicy stuff, but rather its distinctive tang. Minus the heat.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Calm before the bloom

Bare apple trees
Not a bud has burst earlier today at Huchins Farm in Concord, Massachusetts.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Five apple names with stories to tell

I love how every apple has a story. Sometimes the stories come with titles, in the names of the apples.



Here are five of them.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Apple Snob

As the saying goes: blogging = focus + voice.

I've nailed the focus bit. But sometimes I fret about the voice.

Meet the Apple Snob, an online persona I have played with, though only in my head.

Dashing fellow with a bicycle
Tally ho!


Because who does not like a little knowing snark with their fruit?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The attack of the Honeycrisp wannabees

Honeycrisp regnant
Who shall dethrone the mighty Honeycrisp?
The wolves have been circling for some time around old King Honeycrisp. This variety originated, and still dominates, the niche of super crisp, tooth-achingly sweet apples.

Honeycrisp's rival apples aspire to rule the kingdom, not to topple it. To supplant with same-only-better, not to challenge with new tastes and textures.

By when did the King get so old? What makes him vulnerable?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Apples on the web: Out on a Limb

More than a hundred thoughtful descriptions (and photos) of apples are tucked away in a small website set up to manage the Out on a Limb Apple CSA (community supported agriculture).

list of apples

The descriptions are unsigned, but authorship must certainly belong to one of the CSA's farmers, apple sleuth and rescuer John Bunker.

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Rip Van Winkle apple

GoldRush apples, from 2017 and 2016.

Long have I marveled at the wonderful keeping qualities of GoldRush, a modern variety developed by the PRI Co-op.

Packed well, GoldRush keeps in my ordinary refrigerator, peaking in April and still quite tasty in June.

So today, six months out, let's sample the fall 2017 harvest.

And while we are at it, the 2016 harvest too.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The orchard on Argilla Road

Van Gough, In The Orchard (Lithograph)
Vincent van Gogh

Eugene Crockett died suddenly in early 1932, leaving a family, a thousand fruit trees, and a pile of debt in the pit of the Depression.

Only his daughter, Kitty, wanted to keep the orchard or thought it would be possible to do so.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Honeycrisp vs. Evercrisp smackdown

Honeycrisp and Evercrisp apples
You know Honeycrisp (right?) even if you don't follow this blog. If you read my regular reports, perhaps you recall last fall's Evercrisp.

As its name suggests, Evercrisp, at right, takes aim at Honeycrisp and seeks to fill its shoes. Not by being boldly different, but by being the same only better.

So, this is personal. Let's see how things shake down.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Time to prune the trees

apple tree pruning Clarkdale

A small part of the orchard last Saturday at Clarkdale Fruit Farms.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

February thaw threatens fruit harvest

47 degrees (Fahrenheit) tomorrow. 63 on Tuesday; 69 on Wednesday, and 44 on Thursday.

Photo: MChance666 (CC BY-SA 4.0), via Wikimedia Commons

That's the current extended forecast for apple country in Massachusetts from the National Weather Service. After tonight, there are no evening lows in the forecast below 40° F.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Friday, February 2, 2018

The 2018 stars

Imbolc, that old holiday when winter secretly pivots towards the spring, is the time I revisit those apples that I have tasted in the previous year and rate them according to my star system.

A collage of apples

Monday, January 15, 2018

Roger Yepsen's Apples

Open almost any page in Roger Yepsen's Apples to find a charming tableau.

On the right-hand page is a watercolor painting of an apple, rendered by the author with reverent realism.

Facing on the left is a verbal sketch of the apple. These are not long. Several comprise only three sentences.

The images float on the white page. The text, though brief, tells the essential things you'd want to know about each variety, including origin, character, and time of peak ripeness.

When you are done with one apple, turn the page for another. There are more than a hundred of these.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New year's wishes

A very happy 2018 to you!


I am pleased, and a little surprised, to look back on this blog in 2017 and see a healthy number of posts, including 22 apple reviews.