Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Wages of Fame is Spam

The top of a red apple

A passing mention of this blog on the website of an obscure tech company has led to some very welcome attention. (Hi everyone! Check me out!)

Alas, it has also brought comment spam in force.

For the time being, I am moderating all comments here.

Sunday, May 17, 2020


Rows of blooming apple trees recede into the distance
A cool spring has left the trees wearing their party finery as late as today. (Carlson Orchard, Harvard Massachusetts)

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Jazz vs. Koru Smackdown

Two apples

There's really no rationale for comparing these two sturdy varieties except that I am apt to turn to them to brighten up the apple-bleak springtime.

Though the two apples were developed in New Zealand, today's samples grew in the U.S., almost certainly in Washington state.

In better times fresh versions of these apples harvested in the southern hemisphere in March or April would be entering American supermarkets.

Sunday, May 3, 2020


Pink buds on an apple tree
The kernels are ready to pop at Nagog Hill Farm yesterday.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Pineapple Crunch

Pineapple Crunch apple
A really good apple I sampled back in 2017 is finally seeing the light of day here.

On the small side of medium, this attractive yellow apple sports a partial orange-bronze blush on the sunward side.

It has many tiny lenticels, some quite dark, but the most striking feature are several small round splotches of saturated red, like drops of paint.

There is some of this in both blushed and unblushed regions, and some of the lenticels are similarly colored.

Friday, April 24, 2020

EverCrisp-Fuji Smackdown

Two red apples, one oblate, the other tapered

Who's your daddy? EverCrisp's pollen parent is Fuji.

Today we are tasting two related varieties harvested last fall and purchased this month in supermarkets.

They are not at peak, but both are sturdy, crunchy varieties bred to survive long-term storage and handling.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

EverCrisp in April

EverCrisp is the Midwest Apple Improvement Association's entry into the Honeycrisp Succession Derby. I found it in my local supermarket this month.

Red apple with large tan dots and a supermarket sticker

How well does this variety, ever crisp, weather the wholesale chain? My other samples were all direct from local growers (and earlier).

I bought three, emblazoned with PLU stickers, to find out.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Well Red

If you are missing fresh apples this winter as much as I am, you might enjoy a video slide show of red-fleshed apples from the USDA watercolor collection.

Thanks to Bill Lyon, a Twitter friend, for pulling this together.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Passing of an Apple Giant

Eliza Greenman reports the sad news:

It is with a heavy heart to report the passing of C. Lee Calhoun, Southern apple hunter.

Calhoun is the author of Old Southern Apples. For many years he and his wife, Edith, operated a nursery that was a source of rare and regional apple varieties.

Greenman met Calhoun several times. Her account includes more about the man, his life, and his devotion to apples.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Apple Stars on Parade

I rate apples from one to three stars.

Once a year at this time, I add ratings for recent finds and make adjustments.

In 2019, I tasted 16 apples for the first time, and resampled some others. Here's my verdict.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Midwest 633

Orange: you would really have to call this flame-colored apple orange, or at least halfway there from red.

This as-yet unnamed apple (633 is just a placeholder) has an uneven blush over yellow, marked in places with many tan lenticel dots.

It is largish and classically shaped, with a deep stemwell that swallows most of the thick stem. There is a small amount of ribbing.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Midwest 681

Crimson apple

Isn't this pretty? Large medium, with a deep crimson red that covers every place except a few shade spots, which are yellow.

The color is a little lighter, pastel-like, just around the base.

Tiny light dots accent the saturated blush, and there is a satiny sheen.

Sunday, January 12, 2020


These classically shaped apples run medium to large with next to no ribbing. Lenticel dots are dark when russeted, as most are, but otherwise hard to see against the yellow peel.

The stem, absent from my photographed example, is long and thin. One of the apples has a green tint in the yellow.

A honey-sweet aroma suggests Golden Delicious ancestry.