Friday, September 27, 2013

Maiden's Blush *

Medium-sized, very oblate, green-yellow with smooth rosy cheeks, Maiden Blush resembles nothing so much as a supersized Lady Apple.

Its small light lenticels are nearly unnoticeable. In hand it is quite firm to the squeeze.

Inside this apple is fine-grained white flesh, somewhat dense and hard. The flavors are balanced but on the tart side, and perhaps more chewy than crunchy.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The pulse of the apple harvest

I'd like to share one of my tools: a stream of tweets from about 50 apple orchards.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Summer Rambo (Rambour Franc) **

These oblate apples run from large to enormous with articulated ribs that stretch from crown to base. There is a streaky blush of attenuated red, sparse in parts, over spring green. Light lenticels get a little lost against this variegated background.

The snowy white flesh of this firm fruit is crisp and juicy, medium-fine-grained in a way that breaks of cleanly to the teeth.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Autumn Crisp correction

The apple previously sold around here as "Early Jonagold" is really called "Autumn Crisp."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fiesta **

Click on any photo for a closer look.
I've got two of these large apples, a little blocky with only slight ribbing, though from above the lopsided one has a square, lobed cross section.

The blush is a striking orange-tinged red reminiscent of Fiesta's mother apple, Cox's Orange Pippin. The unblushed peel is a pale yellow green.

There is a lot happening on that peel: streaks in the blush, a broad swath of russet, fine light lenticels too small to make much visual impact, flyspeck. The peel flora lends a yeasty, grassy aroma.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Phil Rymsha, 1948–2013

I was saddened to learn this week that Phil Rymsha, founder of Phil's Apples in Harvard Mass., passed away last spring.

Phil's Apples remains one of my favorite destinations, for the quality and selection of fruit, for its exceptional unpasturized cider, and for its uncluttered ambiance. The orchard was especially hard hit by bad weather last season.

Condolences to family and friends.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Jonathan vs. Jonafree smackdown

Jonafree (L) and Jonathan
Jonafree, a new disease-resistant apple, clearly suggests Jonathan, a fine antique that is more than 175 years old. (Jonafree is one fourth Jonathan by breeding.) So I thought to test that relationship by sampling them together.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Nova Easygro apple (Easy Grow)

Today's variety is classically shaped, if on the squat side, with very little ribbing, medium-sized. One sample (photographed) grew wildly lopsided.

The blush is a thin red, just a bit dull, over spring green. Lenticels show light in the blush, dark on the green.

Note the mustard-colored strands of russet radiating from the stem well.

This apple grew up on an organic farm and has the usual marks of character. It's nice and firm and has a complex grassy smell.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Apples on the web: Massachusetts map of farms and markets

The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture counts 369 apple farms in the Bay State.

Many of them, along with hundreds of farm stands and farmers markets, are on an interactive map created by the Department.
Massachusetts farmers markets

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Early Macoun (NY 75414-1) *

"Early Macoun" is just a nickname proffered by Hutchins Farm to give our brains a handy handle for this variety. It is formally known only as NY 75414-1.

My samples are all small, though that may be more a characteristic of this harvest than of the breed in general. They are classically shaped with a slight conical taper and almost no ribbing at all.

The blush is crimson with dark purple streaks, made even darker on some samples by a smokey blue bloom like the one that gives a name to the Blue Pearmain. The effect is striking.