Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spartan *

This medium-sized apple, bought at farmers market on September 30, has a glossy deep red blush that is half saturated and half washed out. Lenticels add a sparse decoration of tiny light spots, and one of my tasting samples has a few crackles of russet on the skin.

Spartan's flesh is medium-fine-grained and white with yellow highlights. It is very crisp and juicy, sweet with just a little tempering tartness. The even flavor is slightly vinous, with floral notes and a little spice, recalling its McIntosh parent. It is sweeter than Empire, which it somewhat resembles.

If McIntosh or Macoun is too tart for your tastes, you might give refreshing Spartan a try.

The product of a breeding program in Western Canada, Spartan was introduced in 1936. It is a cross between McIntosh and a variety that is unknown (other than not being Newtown Pippin, according to Wikipedia.)


  1. At the weekend I went to my first "Apple Day" since moving to the area, which was great! I thought of this blog when I saw the dozens of varieties on show. (Poor quality pics here). The highlight for me was a pruning demonstration by an old guy who's been doing it for thirty years or so. That and some suspicious-looking (but excellent) cider sold in unmarked bottles, called "Sheep Dip". Strong stuff! I am currently eating a "Cambridge Aromatic" which I bought from there, and it's very good. (This description is better than I could do)

  2. Ascorbic: Nice! I like your photos, especially the last one (plates of apples from the side).

    I also notice you linked directly to Cambridge Aromatic's description in the National Fruit Collection database. I'm pretty sure that was not possible with the version that was online a year ago.

  3. Thanks! I would have liked to have been able to take proper photos of them all, but it was too busy.

    I think you're right about the links. A great improvement!

  4. We were picking this variety on an eastern hillside, on sandy soil near Cheltenham England. The trees, which were planted in the 1960s carried this variety and another. The fruit here were small, largely I think because of lack of water this year, no thinning and no pruning for a long time, but despite all these drawbacks the apples themselves were delicious. We were picking for juice and they made that well, dark with a beguiling taste which my wife said reminded her of chocolate. Wishing thinking I'd say, but a very good apple, and a heavy cropper which we will use again this year


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