Thursday, May 11, 2023

All in a row

A row of blossoming apple trees in a green field
The trees don their spring finery at Hutchins Farm in Concord, Massachusetts, earlier today.

Yes they are tiny. Click to see them better!

Mary Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Pink promise

A green bud with a magenta center, growing on a branch
Green buds all were swellin' earlier today at Hutchins Farm in Concord, Mass.

There Will Be Blossoms. But, will there be apples? 

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Thrills, romance, apples

Today I have the pleasure of sharing this tale of an apple, from bud to fruit.

There is adversity; there is suspense; there is romance. 

Friday, March 31, 2023

The Orchard and the Laboratory

A white mesh forms in a test tube
The floating white precipitate inside the test tube indicates the DNA has completely separated.

Technological progress is making DNA analysis of apples increasingly affordable.

Gene sequencing has already informed scholarly works on apple diversity and evolution.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota used these techniques to identify numerous errors in the presumed pedigrees of apples published by...scientists at the University of Minnesota. (Gotta love the scientific method!)

Friday, March 24, 2023

Chat with a robot

A toy robot
photo: tincho franco

Sing in me, Muse Bard, and tell of that pomaceous fruit.

Specifically, I have been unable to locate the plant patent for the Aura apple.

Aura is a brand name, so not the true cultivar name under which the patent would have been granted.

Is this a job for a mild-mannered robot?

Saturday, March 18, 2023


Bright yellow apple, ribbed

This cheerful lemon-yellow apple, prominently ribbed, bears faint honey-sweet aromas.

It is blocky and a little lumpy, with a splash of russet spilling from the stem well.

The closest thing to a blush is a region or two that is slightly more orange.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Cosmic Crisp vs Sunrise Magic smackdown

Two red-blushed apples in the sun.

In the 1990s, the Washington State University cast its envious eye at the success of the University of Minnesota's Honeycrisp, and asked, why can't we do that?

"That" in this case was not just apple breeding, but also a new business model. Honeycrisp was a club apple, restricted to select Minnesota growers while the plant patent lasted. (It expired in 2008.)

Cosmic Crisp (left) is Washington's answer, and Washington growers have gone all-in, planting tens of millions of trees since its 2015 release.

But Sunrise Magic (right) was an early contender. Released in 2009 as WA-2, it got its own brand name in 2016.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Who is this guy

Grey-haired man with sunglasses and tee-shirt at a farmstand, holding apples
photo: judy elliot

Rank amateur who does not even grow apples is not shy about holding forth on them anyway:

As you’ve probably gathered, his tastes don’t align with the average consumer’s. And, as you might be asking yourself by now: Why should I care what Adam Auster thinks? Millions of people eat apples. He’s just one.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Sunrise Magic

Ribbed, broad apple with warm red blush

This medium-sized apple with its cheerful warm red blush is handsome in all the unconventional ways I admire. 

It's ribbed and lumpy and has boldly prominent tan lenticels. There are streaks of russet radiating from the crown.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Beauty sleep

Buds on the tips of the apple trees
Despite 60° (F) weather, apple buds are dormant on the trees at Hutchins Farm in Concord, Massachusetts, earlier today.

As a follow-up to yesterday's substantially revised report, it looks as though the warm weather here has not roused the apple trees from their protective winter sleep.

Winter is not done with us yet.