Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Promises of spring

There are buds on the branches of the apple trees today at Hutchins Farm in Concord, Massachusetts. A line of younger apple trees is visible in the distance. ¶ 

After a week of sleet and snow, yesterday's eclipse seemed to mark a change in the weather and the start of spring. ¶ 

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Spring surprise

I've been enjoying, of all things, Gingergold apples that I found in a local supermarket. ¶ 

A spring-green apple, tapered and ribbed

Every Gingergold I have ever had has been local and fresh. The commercial space they occupy is pretty far from that contested by Honeycrips and its pretenders. ¶ 

Yet these Gingergolds had clearly been in industrial-grade storage. Each wore a glistening coating of wax.

In August, Gingergold is refreshing and light, sweet and a little spicy, and very easy to like.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Orchard solace

Apples hanging from trees in an orchard in the fall

Mourning the death of a friend, and of a business into which they had put heart and soul, Katie Mather and her husband Tom left their shuttered bar and came south, to Kent, in the fall, to pick apples.

 ❝  Now I am standing among rows of Jonagold apples listening to the rumble of an old tractor in a nearby field.... Tom is sitting in a fold-up camping chair making some brews on a camping stove outside.... The sun shines.

Friday, March 8, 2024

A Reflection

Title page of a book with a very long title that begins "A View of the Culivation of Fruit Trees"

on the Indisputable Fact
that some Old Pomological Works Have

Absurdly Long Titles

as if the Author Were Not Content to Let the Work Speak for Itself, but Were in Stead Compelled to Described the Nature and Contents of the Treatise in Great Detail

and if the Reader Thinks this Title is one of Those, then


Title page of a book with a very long title that begins "A View of the Culivation of Fruit Trees"

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Your comments first!

A group of people tasting different apples
Apples go best with friends. ¶ 

If in the off season you miss thinking about apples, I invite you to browse some particularly interesting exchanges in comments that readers share on this blog. ¶ 

They really are the best thing here. ¶ 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Golden slumber

Dormant apple trees bask in golden sunshine
The pretty darlings sleep yesterday at Hutchins Farm in Concord, Massachusetts.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Binary stars of 2023

Two starfish on the beach, with the surf in the background
ubaidhulla adam ¶ 
Midwinter is the time each year when I rate the previous year's apples, on a qualitative scale from one to three stars. ¶ 

I've already published my one-star ratings for 2023, and today I award two stars, "worth a journey." ¶ 

One star is "very good, worth choosing." Most apples are, and I am generous with this rating.

But two stars is a step up, and I am judicious about handing those out. Of the thirty-nine varieties I sampled for the first time in 2023, eight earn the double star.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

A sea of stars

With the ocean in the background, a starfish stand upright in the sand, flanked by two seashells

2023 was a banner year for this blog. Apple reviews are the heart of this project, and I was able to publish 39 of them. ¶ 

That is more than any year except for the first two: 2008 (44) and 2009 (41). ¶ 

Having so many apples challenges my practice of rating them once a year according to my qualitative system of one to three stars.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Extinguishing apples, and other videos

Karim Habibi strides through his seedling orchard like a god, casually dispensing death. ¶ 

This is the part of Keeper's Nursery where Karim plants seeds he hopes will grow into tasty new apple varieties. ¶ 

Most of them don't make the cut. Off with their heads!

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Snow balls

three very dark red apples on a snowy ground
Today's weather is brought to you by the lovely, lustrous, and ligneous Arkansas Black.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Stopped at the border

Men in black jerseys stand behind a wooden counter toppeb by green baskets full of red and yellow apples
Above:Apples for sale at the Marche Jean-Talon in Montreal in early September. ¶ 

I spent a week in Quebec in late summer of 2023. ¶ 

The trip gave me a crack at some new apples, and I got to practice my (not very accomplished) French.

But I also encountered a puzzle: apples everywhere in Canada that are just not grown in the US.

These include