Sunday, December 25, 2011

Black Oxford redux

David D'Angelo of Hawk Farm in Maine gave me a few of these earlier this year, the best examples I have had yet.

I'm not replacing my 2010 tasting notes for Black Oxford, but here is a post script.

These were nice and dark, a deep red with both purple and mahogany overtones. Many light lenticels of varying sizes are sprinkled across the dark like stars in the night sky. Biting in shows dense white flesh with streaks of red from the richly colored peel.

Black Oxford is not strongly flavored but has a good dense texture and of course a striking appearance. These were a bit crisper than my 2010 sample.

As in 2010, Black Oxford's mild tastes include some cane sugar and a hint of vanilla.

There was a bit of generic citrus in the finish this year, though nothing that really clobbers you like, say, the lemon in Ashmead's Kernel. I did not find the sweet-corn note this time, and the peel was more tannic than grassy.

I would search these out again in part for their satisfying texture. They are dense and filling, though not ligneous like Arkansas Black or Winter Banana (and not as good keepers either).

These classic Maine heirlooms, grown in Maine, were welcome late-fall accents this year.


  1. I have read about the Black Oxford Apple and am looking for a sapling to grow. Do you find that the storage is long on these? I have read about a lot of people trying to find the real thing but once they just mature trees they find that the fruit isn't what is promised in the way of storage

    1. Jessi, I don't think of them as especially good winter apples, but they are good into December.

      As for the sapling: I was going to say you might be out of luck for an heirloom (normally only available as budwood), but it looks as though Fedco was offering what you want last spring.

      Watch that space—trees are seasonal and you'll want to order in the winter.

  2. I just found this post quite recently, and I was wondering if you knew of any farmers in Maine that do not mind shipping these particular apples to people's houses. I wonder because I have been wanting to make a wide variety of applesauce flavors and I really want to pair this one with red delicious apples and some allspice for a more bittersweet applesauce. Please tell me there is at least one farmer willing to do this!

    1. Red Delicious is a very boring choice for applesauce. If you're trying to make a "different" applesauce, I recommend you check out your local farmers markets for heirlooms. There are too many varieties to recommend a particular one, but anyone who knows their apples should be able to guide you.


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