Thursday, February 18, 2010

Holly

I got the last one.

Volente Farms says this fruit is named for the Holly Berry whose color it shares.

Maybe all of the other Hollys--the ones sold before I came along--had that luminous shade of red, but I'm just going to describe the one in front of me now.*

It is a large, lopsided (but conical) sample, moderately ribbed, with a streaky red blush that is tinged with a luscious orange pink, over light greenish yellow. It has many small light lenticels and a sweet, almost candy-like, aroma.

Holly's tender-crisp flesh is light yellow and medium coarse. To be fair, I think this sample may be showing some age--it is pleasant to eat but I would not be surprised if a fresher sample had more of a crunch.

The flavor is sweet but not overwhelmingly so, and about halfway into the chew the corn syrup notes are joined by something generically floral. The peel asserts itself in the finish in a way that gives each bite just a little needed weight.

Some boosters of this fruit liken it to the still-popular Red Delicious. This comparison is not unjustified, but Holly has a bit more character and I like it better. So if you are fond of the Big Red, give Holly a try at harvest time.

All About Apples' web site says Holly is a Jonathan x Red Delicious cross, introduced in 1970 by the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center--which makes no mention of Holly on its web site.

*I snagged the last Holly back in October.

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