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.

Rambo's flavors are mild with a good sweet-tart balance. Generally, the tastes comprise a pleasant mix of vinous berries that could be part of the McIntosh family. There is also the suggestion of vanilla and the merest hint of something rather like minty tarragon. Nice.

Add these winning flavors to the Summer Rambo's great crunch and you've got a very satisfying apple.

Rambo is an old French variety introduced to North America at least 200 years ago as "Rambour Franc." The venerable Apples of New York has collected many other names for this variety including Rambour d'Ete, Charmant Blanc, and De Notre-Dame.

Further afield, Wikipedia describes some surprising cultural references for this apple.

New England Apples says that Summer Rambo is harvested as early as the first week in August, but Apples of New York may be closer to the mark when it gives the season as "early Autumn." Mine were crisp and good in mid-September.


  1. Comments such as your own have prompted me to try growing Summer Rambo in the yard. It will be the largest tree, on Gen30 quite possibly 15' tall on my thin soil. In its second year after grafting, it stood over 6'! I do not know of anyone growing this in Washington state so far.
    I hope you realize how fortunate you are to live where such apples have been cultivated for centuries.
    Regarding Summer Rambo/Rambour Franc, I have seen references stating it was recorded in France as early as 1535. I am unable to document this.
    As to ripening, it might be ready in mid-August, depending on just how early it actually blooms in our rather sudden bloom time. I'll keep you posted (as well as on

  2. BTW, you have a beautiful example depicted, like something in a Monet painting. If my young tree blooms next year the fruit is likely to be red over much of its surface, as we have strong light through summer and cooler nights due to low humidity. Waiting impatiently...

    1. I hope they come in strong and good for you!

    2. Well, the tree came through this season. The fruit averaged smaller than expected, but flavor profile, striped coloring, shape and season all confirmed its ID. It makes a nice finish to lunch eaten fresh and makes an excellent sauce when cooked down to purée - no need for additional sugar or spice. The bloom and fruit set were incredible! I had to thin more than two thirds of the crop to get a decent leaf to fruit ratio. definitely an apple wroth growing.

    3. Congratulations! This is really a worth seeking out—and now, you don't have to!


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