Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ozark Gold **

The well-known Golden Delicious lends its even flavor and pomocultural robustness to many offspring varieties, including today's apple.

Ozark Gold is a medium-large apple with light yellow skin that has a hint of translucency. My sample shows the gentle mark of the sun, a light rose blush in a few small patches. Tiny dark lenticels are red inside the blush. Its shape is generally round and more than a little cylindrical. There are a few small patches of tiny black stipples. The whole apple itself has a sweet fragrance.

The flesh is crisp, juicy, and moderately fine-grained. Oz Gold has a light flavor, sweet but not cloying, with a very slight tart accent. Hints of lemonade and vanilla with a pear finish reward the attentive taster. The overall effect is light and refreshing--less substantial than its more-famous parent and easy and pleasant to eat.

The Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station claims credit for introducing this variety in 1970, breeding the Golden Delicious with a descendant of Jonathan, Ben Davis, and (red) Delicious. Ozark Gold, Missouri says, is its "most important commercial apple."

The University of Missouri says that Oz Gold ripens in August, keeps for two months, and has a flavor that "improves greatly" when "properly stored." The harvest must come earlier in Missouri, for I can't believe that the crisp and delicate apple I had in the third week in October was in storage, however proper, for very long. (I suppose it might have mellowed in Gould Hill's cellars for a week or two.)


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