Monday, June 29, 2009

Apples on the Web: Apples and Oranges

Far from here, where orange trees blossom, Apples and Oranges is the witty and informative work of Southern California grower and nursery owner Kevin Hauser.

The tagline to his blog is "Growing Apples Where They're Not Supposed To," but there are many apple trees in his portfolio. Some have been bearing since early June, and the harvest season down there lasts through February.

Kevin leavens his considerable knowledge of pomiculture with a light touch and a dry wit. His approach is eclectic rather than comprehensive--though more detailed information about growing apples (and other diverse topics) can be found on his companion web site.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Superlative Apples

Looking back--or ahead--at some highlights of the season. These are a few of the apples I look forward to eating in the year to come.

Best Early Apple: Red Gravenstein. Available in August, this apple has some sophisticated flavors. Honorable Mention: Yellow Transparent, Zestar.

Best New England Apple: Macoun, hands down. Very honorable mention: McIntosh.

Best Old-Fashioned Apple: The superb Cox's Orange Pippin. Honorable mention: Ashmead's Kernel, a russet.

Most Unusual: Arkansas Black, without a doubt.

Best Newcomer: Piñata. Honorable mention: Ambrosia

Best Supermarket Apple: They are a localvore's nightmare, stored for months in high-tech facilities and/or flown halfway around the world, but thank goodness for them in the off season. My favorite this year was Jazz. Honorable mention: Granny Smith.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A good sign

Fruitslinger is back.

I wrote about this blog back in January, but you can skip my review and read the real thing.

So much for Blogger's automated "follower" feature, which was supposed to tell me if the Slinger had re-upped for another season. (It didn't but he did.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pink Lady (Cripps Pink) *

One of my favorites of the industrial apples that are available in the off-season, Pink Lady is named for her distinctive orange-fuchsia blush, which covers an otherwise green yellow. Light lenticels correspond with minor dimples in the surface of the fruit, which runs medium to large and has a soft sweet smell of pear, melon, and cider. The apple feels firm.

Pink Lady's flesh is on the coarse side of dense and a creamy light yellow, crisp (though not breaking) and juicy. Her flavor is sweet with some tartness and offers distinct cantaloupe and honeydew notes, with a hint of orange juice.

This variety has real character but with enough sweetness to put it in the range of popular taste.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A tall glass of cider

Back in November I froze a half gallon of fresh apple cider from Red Apple Farm in Phillipston. When I buy something tasty and special that keeps well, I never know when to eat or drink it. So I thawed this cider out this week because it's my birthday. (Was, actually.)

Cider keeps very well frozen and this is delicious. I don't drink enough cider to be able to spout off about it the way I do about whole apples, but I found it sweet without being cloying the way some cider can be. Whatever they made it out of had something to balance all that sugar, because cider is sweet. Indeed there were hints of citrus and melon swimming about in the rich cider taste.

This treat is very welcome this time of year, with local apples still a good six weeks off and high season not until September.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First apple of the season

It's a gorgeous Dorsett Golden. Unfortunately for me, it's in Southern California.

Take a look for yourself over at Apples and Oranges, the blog of Kevin Hauser, a grower (and general renaissance man) from Riverside, California.

I doubt I'll find any Dorsett Goldens around here--it's practically a tropical fruit--but I am looking forward to the first local Vista Bella in about seven weeks.