Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Seasons greetings from Adam's Apples and a grinning Kendall.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tolman Sweet **

I had a tiny tantalizing sliver of this antique apple on a walk at Tower Hill. Now I've got a whole Tolman Sweet to eat.

Somewhere between small and large, this yellow apple is streaked with green, stippled with a light blotchy blush, and decorated with russety scars. Note the green seam running vertically down the left side of the apple.

Small lenticels are prominent only when darkened with russet (which is not unusual).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Grimes Golden **

Not gold but light green, this large apple has a classic shape with a small amount of ribbing and a slight conical taper.

The green is subtly stippled and the peel has a matte finish.

Grimes sports no blush but each of my samples has a side that is smoother and shinier within which the large light lenticels are easier to see.

Both apples also have small webs of russet near their bases.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Door of apple knowledge

This is the inside of the door to the farm stand at Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, Massachusetts (map).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Stark *

These classically shaped apples with minimal ribbing span the range between medium and large. A thin red blush washes over an intense spring green. The waxy peel shines.

Except where accented with specks of russet, the small lenticels are hard to see.

I wonder if these are fully ripe. They feel quite hard.

Stark's flesh is a medium-coarse yellow-green. That unripe theory looks pretty good, but lets see what there is to see.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Unexpected treasure

When I took a half-day off today to ride my bike in the crisp fall breeze, I left my knapsack at home. No apples today, I thought.

Instead I found a new (to me) variety ("Rusty Sweet," watch for it in a future review), more illicit Sweetangos, and some of the darkest, most beautiful Arkansas Blacks I have personally seen.

Those Blacks are from Red Apple Farm at Lexington's farmers market. Red Apple will be there for one more week next Tuesday.

Not Roxbury

The scene of today's professed oddity is Pease Orchard in Templeton, Massachusetts (map). There I was solemnly told that this apple was a Roxbury Russet—only without the russet!

Note that the skin of this small apple is smooth and shiny, not rough like the peel that can been seen peeking though the russet jacket of a normal Roxbury.

There's even a faint streaky blush. Unheard of.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chandler *

This heritage apple is large, ribbed, and lumpy. A streaky red blush mostly covers bright green, and tiny light lenticels are not prominent.

Chandler unbroken has a pleasant cider aroma and a shiny waxy peel.

Its coarse butter-yellow flesh is juicy and crisp, with just a little give.

The sweet-tart balance is right in the zone to showcase flavors of sweet cider alongside something sharper that I will describe, for lack of a better, as pineapple, though that really isn't right.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Forbidden fruit

Psst: Hey buddy. You want a hot apple?

Not only is Sweetango this year's "it" fruit, this variety is also illegal to grow in Massachusetts. Patents and trademarks have this apple locked up tight. The consortium that controls Sweetango does not license them in New England.

So when I found some Bay State Sweetangos for sale last month, I looked furtively over my shoulderand bought two.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gilpin (Carthouse)

Gilpin is a cider apple, so it may or may not be good to eat.

Bitter? Sourball? Let's see.

This medium-sized fruit is ribbed, lumpy, and riddled with stress-lines of russet.

It's pretty well blushed over yellow-green, dark in spots. The small light lenticels get lost with all the other stuff on the surface of this apple.

Gilpin has a cidery aroma and a shiny, waxy skin.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Two apple treasures

Apple number one is this big guy, 25 feet tall if he's an inch. (That's a bicycle at lower left.)

Is there anyplace quite like New England in the fall?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Candy Crisp (Candycrisp)

Could there be any apple name more likely to excite my antipathy than "Candy Crisp?" Apples should not be tooth-achingly sweet.

I shall nonetheless strive to give an accurate account of this variety, all the while hoping that the fruit will not live up to its saccharine name.

With its yellow-green peel, prominent lenticels, and faint pink blush, this large ribbed apple resembles nothing less than a Honeygold poured into whatever elongated mold is used to make Red Delicious.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What's Pickin'

A weekend trip to beautiful Western Massachusetts yielded many memories including this evocative message board hanging at Red Apple Farm in Phillipston.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Claygate Pearmain **

This small apple, minimally ribbed, blushes to a subdued golden orange over pea-soup green.

My sample is marked by the descriptively named flyspeck and sooty blotch, which have nothing to do with flies or soot and do not affect the flavor of the fruit.

A network of russet adds another layer to this variegated apple's peel, the texture of which runs from matte to rough.

Look closely to see small faint lenticels among all that texture.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October sun

October's sunshine falls on the apples and the root vegetables alike at Belmont's farmers market.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Honeygold (Honey Gold) *

There's not much gold on my Honeygolds. Except for a yellow tint within the faint orange-rose blush that covers perhaps one sixth of the peel, this apple is a bright spring green.

Maybe, then, mine were picked early. On the other hand, this has been an early season.

Honeygold clocks in on the small edge of large, slightly ribbed. Its many dark lenticels are prominent and feel a little rough, suggesting russet.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Staybrite is a sport of Stayman and presumably eats very similar.

These apples were so handsome that I could not resist buying a few to see if there are any differences in texture or taste versus the original.

My sample today, like many of the Staybites I saw, is big, much larger than other Staymans I have seen. But another one is just medium-sized.

The shapes vary, from oblate to conical. There is a little ribbing.

This apple has Stayman's understated blush, a dark red that is pretty solid over green, decorated with prominent light lenticels. It's very firm to the squeeze.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Crimson Gold **

This rescued variety was once lost, and some mysteries remain.

Though appearance varies, these are mostly medium-large to large and moderately ribbed, with a beautiful orange-red blush over dull yellow (or on some, yellow-green).

On one smaller sample the blush is a more-saturated red and a cap of russet seems to spill over the blush side leaving big fat spatters on the blush.

Lenticels for the most part are small. They fade into the blush but are dark and easy to spot against the unblushed peel.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Carousel (Cameo, Caudle)

Many of these large apples had the top-heavy, lopsided shape apparent in my photographed sample.

They are conical and markedly ribbed, with distinct bumps at their tiny bases.

The blush is twofold: a strawberry red and a deeper darker swath, prominent in the photo but comprising only about a fifth of the whole surface.

The strawberry effect at bottom is amplified by many small distinct light lenticels; these grow bigger and sparser in the top half.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Weak apple season prepares to end early

The apple crop is down, and some Massachusetts orchards have been hit really hard, due to last spring's early heat wave and late frost.

That's not exactly news to anyone who has been talking to the farmers this year, but yesterday it was documented by Kathleen Pierce in the Boston Globe:

a good number of apple growers across New England are trying to make the best of a season that started early, and is about to end the same way. And stores that buy apples wholesale say they are attempting to avoid big prices increases for customers at a time of year when the fruit is supposed to be plentiful and cheaper.