Monday, August 31, 2009

Duchess of Oldenburg

Today's variety, Duchess of Oldenburg, runs medium-sized with a pinkish blush in pronounced streaks over yellow green. The apples are ribbed and wear many green lenticels a little darker than the skin. My tasting sample has a little russet in the stem well, and her calyx is closed.

The Duchess is renowned as a cooking apple, especially if picked a little early (as I suspect mine may have been). But what would you have me do? Suppose I did cook some into a pie (or a pancake). Yummy for me, but there would be no frame of reference to compare these apples with the other sixty-odd varieties I've reviewed.

So I'm just going to stick to my old habits and eat this one raw.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A wonderful old orchard survives

Beautiful Gould Hill Orchard, which had apparently closed for good as the owners prepared to retire, is again open for business under new management.

Gould Hill, in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, grows many heirloom apples. Efforts by the Leadbeater family to sell the farms to a community trust fell through last June. When their web page went dark, it seemed a sure bet that the 80 acres, with their beautiful view, would be chopped up into lots and developed.

What a loss! Gould Hill has been a farm for more than 225 years. The Leadbeaters have run it for the last 70. In addition to such old apples as Hubardston Nonesuch and Ribston and Cox's Orange Pippin, their Hampshire was discovered there. Kearsage grows only at Gould Hill.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Forbidden fruit

With one exception, this blog has been about apples, anchored by my reviews of apple varieties.

It's worth noting, though, that most growers grow other fruit. My favorite farms, maybe yours too, are selling some very fine peaches, plums, and apricots right now.

If the peaches aren't ripe, put them in a paper bag overnight.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What to eat in August

It's still early days for apples, of course, but at least in New England there will be some interesting choices at the markets as early as next week.

I will be on the lookout for four varieties this month.