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.

These feel rock hard from the outside. (In fact Fiesta, though firm, is not jaw-breaking.)

Inside fine-grained creamy-white flesh bears a powerful dollop of orange, cane sugar, and acidity, in about that order. There is a flash of pear and, I think, a hint of vanilla lurking in the background when all is said and done.

There is a lot going on with this apple and I am not sure I caught it all. The flavors are intense.

I am enthusiastic about this one, which suggest the unruly Ribston Pippin rather than the orderly Cox's. If you are used to supermarket sweeties, Fiesta will amaze you, but brace yourself. Some may not appreciate the acidity, which is a bit over the top.

In the morning light, Fiesta's stem casts a shadow like the gnomon of a sundial.
Fiesta is a Cox's x Idared cross, bred in Kent.
The apple web site Orange Pippin, which ought to know, praises this variety as bearing real Cox qualities while being easier to grow.

"In a year that suits it, Fiesta gets very close indeed to the heights of Cox's Orange Pippin." That high bar is unmet this year, but these are still very good.

Several sources say Fiesta matures in late September, but these were falling-off-the-tree ripe on September 4.


  1. Mine look a lot different than your picture, but they look a lot like other pictures of fiesta on the web. They are decidedly conical, but very broadly conical, with more of a red streaked look. I really enjoyed the few I got this year, as I did the ones I ate last year. The flavors are pretty complex and multilayered. The very first hit is kind of pedestrian "apple" flavor, but it's quickly overwhelmed by a fairly intense rush of other flavors. I can't parse all the flavors like you do, nor do I try, but candy always comes to mind. I mean like artificially flavored fruit candy, but in a good way. A lot of my favorite apples have that going on. Even though the flavors are pretty intense and complex, the whole eating experience is balanced and easy, not like some intense apples that keep jumping up and down in your mouth screaming flavor to the point where you have to stop and pay attention. That's great, but an apple that is just really great, but easy going has it's own virtue. I really like the acid sugar balance too. I'm pretty taken with this apple and inclined to graft another branch somewhere. I eat them somewhere around mid september. I just finished the last one, but I only had a few this year. I wish I had more. Cox is not always great in our relatively hot climate. This apple seems much more reliable so far.

    1. Hi Turkeysong, how's your harvest going?

      Fiesta certainly has the reputation of being easier to grow than Cox's.


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