Thursday, March 18, 2010

The happy persistence of Macoun

In September Macoun is an outright marvel, crisp and satisfying, bursting with juice and flavor that are vinous and complex.

It is pretty wonderful in mid-winter too, when the last are trundled out from their refrigerated controlled-atmosphere vaults.

Too fragile to cut it as a year-round industrial apple, Macoun is nonetheless popular enough to sell well past the season's end. To my very great pleasure.

Most years I bid bid a wistful goodby to Macoun in the first half of February, but this year a local Whole Foods has sold these, incredibly, into March. (Credit where credit is due: it can only encourage them.)

The market promotes these as a product of Clark Orchards, which is in Ashfield, Massachusetts. However, last week some waxed Macouns were in the mix; I suspect these are ringers.

In any case the supply seems to be finally winding down, and as much as I love Macoun it's just as well. These are not naturally good keepers, and though every one I have had was enjoyable, recently some showed their age with more-yielding texture and less-distinct flavors. (The ringers fared better, but that probably had to do with how they had been handled and when they arrived from storage.)

To everything, then, there is a season. September is but six months away.


  1. Are there any Mac "children" that are good keepers?

  2. Empire, a McIntosh x Delicious cross, seems to do reasonably well in storage.

    Here in the Northeast, they are usually available, and good, through June.

    I suspect that some other varieties, such as Hampshire, might do as well, but they are not commercial enough (or grown enough) to make it into mainstream markets. (I guess we don't know for sure whether Hampshire is a Mac child, but lots of people seem to think there is a relationship.)


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