|Pomme Gris (left) meets Ashmead's Kernel in a medley of fall colors|
So which is best?
While Pomme Gris, at left, is small and most of my Ashmeads approach medium-sized, there is considerable variation. Both are round with modest ribbing, though the ribs of Pomme Gris are a little more prominent.
Both are russeted though the Gray Apple's rough jacket is mostly complete, and coppery down to a green tinge. (The occasional patch of unrusseted skin is a bright spring green.)
Meanwhile Ashmead's blush, a subdued dusty rose orange, covers about half of each of my samples. Its russet is sparer, two toned, a brown suede stippling over tawny yellow, and russeted lenticels add another visual layer. Pomme Gris is a looker, but Ashmead wins the beauty contest.
Ashmead's flesh is crisp and juicy, bearing flavors of lemon-drops and the savory quality that Morton Shand likens to marrow (see review). Pomme Gris is sweeter and similarly firm and fine-grained, lemonade with a hit of vanilla. It is not quite so juicy.
The Pomme Gris is really good, but Ashmead is outstanding. It delivers a nice measured dollup of acidity that makes every flavor more vibrant and present. Pomme Gris suffers by comparison, which is really not fair to that great apple.
Oh, and Ashmead's Kernel seems to hold up a little better than the Gray Apple over time.
I got both of these varieties at Gould Hill Farm in Hopkinton. They alone justified the trip north.