Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Mapping British orchards

Map of an orchard

The London-based People's Trust for Endangered Species is mapping its Traditional Orchard Survey, an ongoing project to identify orchards in the United Kingdom.

Another group maps community orchards in England and Scotland.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

So you like Granny Smith

green-skinned apple

This distinctive big green apple is named for the Australian farmer who discovered the variety growing in a trash heap.

Granny's fans are maverick lovers of tart in an ocean of sugary apples. 

In person, the apple bears a good deal of offsetting sweetness alongside its citric tang. Lime, pear, and cane sugar balance together.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021


The six weeks leading up to the start of the harvest feel like they are each a month long.

Red apple with a network of brown russet

To pass the time, can you tell which apple made me ask, "what if you diluted one Cox's Orange Pippin into a peck of Red Delicious?"

Friday, April 30, 2021

Hoople's Antique Gold

What a marvelous name! What do you think it means?

Partially russeted yellow apple with a thin stem

These conical light yellow apples are on the large side of small, classically shaped with only a hint of ribs. There's a coppery crown of russet and some brown around the base.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The art of the keeper

Two apples, one mostly yellow and wone with orange streaks

Today I get to eat two excellent modern apples ("worth seeking!") that share a particular quality.

Competently managed, they both deliver peak eating in the spring.

Lady Alice, at right, has saturated flavors with wonderful malt notes and a substantial crunch. GoldRush presents pear and banana along with a dash of citrus. 

Sunday, April 11, 2021


A darker Cosmic Crisp
Tiny light lenticial dots contrast with the dark red blush of this apple.

The folks at Washington State University looked at it and saw stars: pinpoints in the night sky.

They named the apple "Cosmic Crisp."

However, the blush of the Cosmic Crisps I reviewed in 2019 was not particularly dark.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Apples on the Web: Apples and People


Painted map of an orchard showing every tree
My love of apples goes without saying, but I am especially beguiled by their human-facing side: the stories and customs and lore around them, the names we give apples, the magic, history, spirit, and significance they lend us as we endow the same to them.

Those intangibles are the heart of a new website, profoundly English and with an impressive roster of sponsors and funders.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Parable of the banana

A banana
Thought experiment: imagine that one vast banana tree is the world's sole supply of the yellow fruit.

Now imagine the tree is dying from an incurable disease.

Actually, with some poetic license, that is the case.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Saturday, March 13, 2021

AKA Wild Twist

Handsome red apple nestled in the snow

Some of you have been telling me recently about a new apple, Wild Twist. 

More recently, you said it was just a new trademark for Sweet Cheeks. (I reviewed that apple in 2017.)

Thanks for doing my job for me! I've edited the review with the new name and a note.

Sometimes different harvests or handling deliver fruit of varying quality.  Several readers liked this apple a lot more than I did. 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Surprise keeper

Two crimson blushed apples, one with an orange tint, with large irregular brown lenticels

I find that most keepers, or winter apples, hale from the later part of the harvest. But there are many exceptions.

One of these is Melrose. I discovered this apple's winter virtue a year ago by virtue of poor organization of my apple hoard. 

Then, several Melrouge (a sport of Melrose) lurked in the back of my refrigerator. They proved good.

This past fall I made a point of buying some for a midwinter bonus.