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.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Apples on the Web: Pomiferous

wooden bins overflowing with different kinds of apples

The encyclopedic website Pomiferous, cleverly organized and with links to related resources, is a labor of love by two "great friends," one an outdoors writer and the other a web designer.

This ambitious, generous site is a work in progress, rough edges, loose ends, and all.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Mammiform Crown Base Protuberances

There's always more to know. 

The bumpy, crenelated calyx end of a yellow apple

Consider this the second installment in the ongoing investigation of what to call the set of bumps that sometimes grace the ridge around the calyx end of the apple.

Last month I weighed in with crown, noting that an apple usually begins its life with its calyx pointing up.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Genetics Inform UK Apple Curators

Blck-and-white photo of a man in a tie a the Smithsonian Institution holding an enormous jawbone
Curation is key.

Gene sequencing is helping the National Fruit Collection (UK) to prune its orchard and improve its classifications.

I reviewed the NFC's searchable apple database in 2008.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Stars for a Star-Crossed Year

fragments of shattered glass explode against a dark background, like a field of stars

Today is the day I rate apples I've sampled (or resampled or reconsidered) from the previous year.

My ratings are qualitative, from one to three stars. These judgments reflect my tastes primarily, though sometimes other considerations come into play.

As for the year itself: no stars at all.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Four Minute Apple

This fun video (4 minutes) was created in 2014 for a biology class at Stanford.

It speaks for itself. Bonus points if you can name the fruit (not an apple, really, and what's with that?) that inspired the soundtrack.